A report published on Thursday 7th January by "Almasri Alyoum", on the Egyptian government policy to import natural gas in order to meet the needs of local markets, claiming it wants to benefit from receding international prices, has provoked widespread criticism among the country's political parties and oil experts.
Mustafa Al-Tawil, honorary chairman of Al-Wafd party, said: "This policy is strange. How is it that we import gas at a time when we export it?" He questioned the price of gas exported to Israel and particularly whether they are more or less than the international price?
Dr. Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, chairman of the Front "Jabha" party said: "these policies pertaining to petroleum need revision and transparency, and an answer to all questions and enquiries." He called for more transparency in the oil sector.
Abdul Rahman Shokr, leader in the Assembly "Tajamu'a" party, considered this trend as proof of the neglect of the people's interests, saying the government made two big mistakes, which are exporting gas to Israel in large quantities at low prices, and the expansion of gas exports to the world under long term treaties, which do not allow a review of the prices of Egyptian gas in light of developments in the international market.
Sameh Ashour, First Deputy Chairman of the Nazareth Party, asked: "If Egypt needs the gas, why does it export it? And if gas is cheap, then what's cheaper: the international price or Egypt sale price to Israel?" describing the new trend as "outrageous."
Ambassador Ibrahim Yosri, who petitioned the government to "halt exports of gas to Israel", described statements by Sameh Fahmi, Minister of Petroleum, as a charade.
Dr. Ibrahim Zahran, petroleum expert, called for an immediate end to gas exports, due to local need.