Who’s buying Israeli gas? A company owned by the General Intelligence Service (Egypt) | MadaMasr
When news broke in February that an Egyptian firm named Dolphinus Holdings had signed a US$15 billion deal to purchase Israeli natural gas for supply to Egypt, the Egyptian government refused to comment, portraying it as a private market transaction.
“The Ministry of Petroleum has no comment on private-sector negotiations or agreements regarding the import or sale of natural gas to Israel,” the ministry spokesperson said in a brief statement at the time.
That same day, Reuters quoted an anonymous Egyptian government official who said that the deal did not mean the government itself would import gas from Israel. “International private companies will import gas from abroad in the framework of their own needs,” the official said.
Similar claims were made in September after a preliminary agreement was struck for the acquisition of a stake in a pipeline between Ashkelon and Arish that would allow the transport of natural gas from Israel to Egypt.
Again, the Petroleum Ministry spokesperson issued a swift response: “The ministry welcomes this new step taken by the private companies involved in the imminent commercial venture.” This time, the Egyptian company involved was called East Gas.
Last week, CEO and managing director of East Gas Mohamed Shoeib boasted in several interviews that in exchange for the deal, his company had managed to get a handful of arbitration fines and cases against Egypt dropped after 18 months of negotiations. Shoeib attributed the success of the deal to a decision “from the beginning to think outside the government framework.”