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Egyptian gas flowing again to Israel

By Kevin Flower, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Deliveries halted after an April pipeline attack in the Sinai
  • Israel gets 40% of its natural gas from Egypt
  • The pipeline became operational in 2008

Jerusalem (CNN) -- After a weeks-long shutdown because of sabotage, Egyptian gas began flowing again to Israel on Friday.

"The commercial supply of gas began today after two days of testing" said Zeev Feiner, a spokesman for the Merhav group of companies, one of the major partners in the gas pipeline between Egypt and Israel. The pipeline is operated by the East Mediterranean Gas Company.

Delivery of Egyptian gas to Israel came to a halt after an April attack on a pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula.

It was the second such attack on Egyptian pipeline infrastructure since the toppling of the Mubarak government earlier in the year. Both attacks resulted in a halt in the flow of gas not only to Israel but to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon as well.

Israel receives approximately 40% of its natural gas from Egypt.

Feiner said the flow of natural gas would be increased gradually and that the pipeline was expected to be delivering contracted amounts to Israeli clients within the next week.

The pipeline between Egypt and Israel became operational in 2008 and the arrangement represents one of the major economic agreements between the two countries.

The issue of gas sales to Israel has become highly controversial in Egypt with various allegations circulating that Israel received below market prices for the gas and that Egyptian government officials enriched themselves on the deal.

The Israeli government and Israeli investors in the pipeline have categorically denied below market pricing for the gas and last month one of the major investors released a statement expressing public frustration that the Egyptian government was not moving more quickly to get the gas flowing again and threatened to pursue legal action.