Militants Blow up North Sinai Gasline: Reports
After several years of calm, with no damage to the natural gas pipelines in northern Sinai, and just two weeks after Israel began supplying natural gas to Egypt, anonymous militants blew up a gas pipeline in Northern Sinai late February 2.
Egypt put the blame on local militants, but so far (February 3, 12.40 GMT) no organisation has taken responsibility for the incident. It was not clear whether the blown-up pipeline was the one transferring Israeli gas to Egypt. According to local officials, quoted by wire services, the pipeline carried gas to el-Arish and a cement factory in the area.
Soon after the news broke, a spokeswoman for the Leviathan partnership said that no Israeli gas asset had been damaged and that the transmission of gas from Leviathan to Egypt, which began after local efforts to stop it in courts failed, is ongoing.
According to reports from Egypt the gas pipeline was blown up in an operation by at six masked gunmen near the small town of Bir al Abd, about 50 km west of Al Arish, where the EMG pipeline is connected to the Egyptian grid.
During an analyst briefing in Tel Aviv, Yitzhak Tshuva, the controlling owner of Delek Group, Israel biggest oil and gas company and a 45% shareholder in Leviathan, blamed "anti-Egyptian channels" for "circulating false rumours about the gas pipeline from Egypt. These are rumours that aren't true." But the new development makes clear once again the high risks involved in Israel's natural gas strategy, which depends on exports to Jordan and Egypt for success.