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Egypt curbs electricity so it can export more natural gas to Europe amid Russia war

August 10, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Natural gas power station in Cairo, Egypt. [AMIR MAKAR/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt’s prime minister has said that the country is curbing electricity use so that it can export more natural gas and generate foreign currency.

Egypt will reduce street lighting, lights in public squares and large sports facilities, reports Bloomberg, and illuminations outside government buildings will be switched off after working hours.

Cairo is struggling to cope with the fall out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has pushed the price of wheat up dramatically.

Russia and Ukraine are the largest exporters of wheat worldwide whilst Egypt is the world’s biggest importer, with 80 per cent of its supply coming from the two countries.

Earlier this week Egypt met with delegates from the World Bank to discuss a $500 million food security loan to help the struggling country.

READ: Egypt cancels contracts for 240,000 tonnes of Ukraine wheat

As well as wheat, electricity, petrol and the price of other basic commodities have soared, causing huge problems in a country where a third of the population already live below the poverty line.

In June the European Union signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel and Egypt to boost natural gas imports to Europe, in an effort to replace imports from Russia.

Last year Russia accounted for 40 per cent of the EU’s natural gas imports but since the war, Europe has said it will cut imports by two thirds in one year.

The International Energy Agency’s head has urged governments to reduce demand from Russia and warned that Moscow may turn off all gas exports to Europe this winter.

Russia has reduced and cut off supplies of gas to several European countries in what analysts say is a punitive measure against sanctions in response to the war on Ukraine.

In 2020 Egypt and Israel signed a deal under which Israel exports roughly 20 million cubic metres of gas per day to Egypt where it is liquified and shipped to European countries.