PNA, Egypt agree to run Gaza power plant on Egyptian gas

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Egypt struck a deal to operate the power plant in the Gaza Strip on Egyptian gas, a Palestinian official said Tuesday.

Pipes would stretch for nearly 30 km to provide the only power station in central Gaza Strip with gas from an Egyptian station in North Sinai, said Omar Katana of the Palestinian Energy Authority.

The project needs six months to complete, Katana told Xinhua, adding that the PNA tries to secure the 30 million U.S. dollars needed for the project from the Islamic Development Bank.

The project is aimed to resolve frequent shutdowns of the power station due to lack of diesel needed to run its turbines.

The PNA used to supply the station with fuel from Israel, but Israeli restrictions disrupted regular shipments of industrial diesel to the station.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers resorted to smuggling fuel from North Sinai in the last year, but an Egyptian crackdown on smuggling the subsidized fuel forced the power plant to shut down for months.

The agreement that was reached Monday “is a suitable economical, technical and environmental solution” to the problem facing Gaza power plant, Katana said, adding that running the station on gas, which is cheaper than diesel, would allow it to produce 135 megawatts of electricity.

Katana also accused Hamas of refusing to take part in the negotiations to resolve the power crisis in Gaza, which prefers to depend on smuggled Egyptian subsidized fuel because it taxes it before selling it to the station.

While Gaza needs 350 megawatts of electricity, it gets 140 megawatts from Israel and Egypt.

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