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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom, Egypt Discuss Middle Eastern LNG Plans

CAIRO, Egypt -- Egypt and Gazprom are in talks to liquefy Russian gas in Egypt for shipment to Europe, a spokesman for the Egyptian Oil Ministry said Wednesday.

Egypt is offering "excellent liquefying facilities" as part of a plan to turn the North African nation into a major LNG hub, Hamdi Abdelaziz said in a phone interview from Cairo.

"We are discussing the possibility that Russian gas be pumped into the Arab Gas Pipeline in reverse," Abdelaziz said. "It will originate in Russia and be liquefied in Egypt since we have excellent liquefying facilities."

The Arab Gas Pipeline currently runs from Egypt through Jordan to Lebanon and Syria and has a capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year. The proposal involves linking the Arab Gas Pipeline to pipelines that already exist in Turkey.

The plan is one of several ideas Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and officials from the Egyptian Oil Ministry are discussing with Gazprom executives in Moscow, Abdelaziz said.

Two Russian companies, Novatek and LUKoil, are already working in Egypt, the Russian Embassy in Cairo said.

Abdelaziz said talks also include inviting Gazprom to make exploration bids in Egypt.

Egypt will benefit from liquefying and selling Russian gas by providing labor, storage facilities and manufacturing equipment, Hamdi El-Banbi, former Egyptian oil minister said in an interview by phone from Cairo.

"We are right on the Mediterranean, and we have exceptional liquefying facilities and have experience with being a transit point for fuels to Europe and the U.S.," he said.

Egypt runs the Sumed pipeline, a major route for crude from Gulf oil exporters to Europe and the United States.