Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP)

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Overview

The Arab Gas Pipeline extends from Arish in Egypt, passing through Aqaba, Damascus and Banias. It is 1,200 kilometres long in total and was built at a cost of US$1.2 billion.[1]

The AGP pipeline was initially formed following bilateral discussions with Jordan in 2001, however the original Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) grew to include Syria and Lebanon. A further side deal ensured gas supply to Israel, while Turkey and Iraq both subsequently signed deals to cooperate on the regional project.

The pipeline is divided into four segments:

  • Arish-Aqaba, completed 2003.
  • Aqaba-El Rehab, completed 2006.
  • El Rehab-Homs, completed 2008.
  • Homs-Tripoli, completed 2009.[2]

The Arish-Ashkelon Pipeline is a submarine branch of the AGP that supplies natural gas from Egypt to Israel, ending in Ashkelon, Israel. It began operating in February 2008 and cost an estimated US$469 million.[3]

Mary Stonaker has highlighted the geopolitical relevance of the AGP pipeline, referring to it as a "vital diplomatic tool for the Middle East".[4]

Potential and Planned Extensions

Syria-Turkey

In 2008, Stroytransgaz and the Syrian Gas Company (SGC) finalized an agreement to build the Arab Gas Pipeline Project Phase 2 in Syria. The pipeline will run 62 kilometers from the Turkey-Syria border to a pressure reduction and metering station at Aleppo. The project was estimated to reach completion in 18 months.[5]

There have also been suggestions that the AGP could be used to supply the 3,300-kilometre Nabucco pipeline project, set to transit Turkey, allowing the Middle East region to target European natural gas markets as a united exporter.[6]

Iraq

According to the Financial Times, Iraq has been in negotiations with Egypt in a bid to use the AGP as an outlet for its gas exports. This export option is said to have little support in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The 2011-12 violence in Syria meant that the future of the project looked uncertain.[7]

Capacity

The capacity of the AGP pipeline varies depending on the different sections. However on completion of work on the pipeline in Syrian territory in 2008, the Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources predicted that Egypt would pump 900 million cubic metres of gas to Syria within the first year, with the amount gradually increasing in order to meet Syria's increasing demand.[8]

2011 Explosions

As of early 2012, the AGP pipeline had been shut down for repairs following an attack in July 2011, which halted the flow of natural gas to both Israel and Jordan. In total the pipeline was bombed nine times over the course of 2011, after Hosni Mubarak fell from power in Egypt in February 2011. These attacks were blamed on the Bedouin Islamists and a rise in Jihadist activities in the Sinai peninsula.

As a result of the attacks and the shutting down of the pipeline, the price of electricity in Israel rose by 10%.[9]

References

  1. "EGYPT, ISRAEL, AND THE ARISH-ASHKELON PIPELINE CONTROVERSY" Prospect Journal, January 2012.
  2. "Energy Infrastructure As A Diplomatic Tool: The Arab Gas Pipeline" Journal of Energy Security, 14 December 2010.
  3. "EGYPT, ISRAEL, AND THE ARISH-ASHKELON PIPELINE CONTROVERSY" Prospect Journal, January 2012.
  4. "Energy Infrastructure As A Diplomatic Tool: The Arab Gas Pipeline" Journal of Energy Security, 14 December 2010.
  5. "Energy Pipeline projects in the Middle East" Pipelines International, March 2010.
  6. "Energy Infrastructure As A Diplomatic Tool: The Arab Gas Pipeline" Journal of Energy Security, 14 December 2010.
  7. "Natural gas: North looks to tap into long-term export potential of vast reserves" Financial Times, 7 December 2011.
  8. "Syria Completes First Stage of Arab Gas Pipeline" Downstream Today, 18 February 2008.
  9. "EGYPT, ISRAEL, AND THE ARISH-ASHKELON PIPELINE CONTROVERSY" Prospect Journal, January 2012.