Algeria has agreed to deliver to Egypt five liquefied natural gas cargoes of 145,000 cubic metres each before the end of the year, a source at Algerian state energy company Sonatrach told Reuters on Wednesday.
The source said there was as yet no agreement on pricing, but the deal was almost done as part of talks on supplying Algerian natural gas to fuel Egyptian power stations.
Egypt’s oil ministry spokesman Hamdy Abdel-Aziz said he did not have any information on the status of the negotiations between the two countries, which began early this year.
The announcement was made after a visit by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Algiers on Wednesday, his first trip abroad since taking office, seeking Algeria’s support to counter Islamist militancy.
Steadily declining gas production and foreign firms’ wariness about any increase in investment have combined with price subsidies and rising consumption to create Egypt’s worst energy crisis in decades.
The country of 85 million relies heavily on gas to generate power for households and industry. Previously unheard of winter power cuts this year signaled the extent of the crisis.
Egypt has been scrambling to secure natural gas supplies, which its Gulf Arab allies cannot provide. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have given $6 billion in petroleum products since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last summer.