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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Egypt and Lebanon strike Arab gas deal

Egypt will supply Lebanon with natural gas through the unified Arab natural gas pipeline, according to officials from the two countries.

Egypt will supply Lebanon with natural gas through the unified Arab natural gas pipeline, according to officials from the two countries.

Energy representatives signed an agreement on exports at a meeting attended by Egyptian oil minister Sameh Fahmy and Lebanese acting energy and water minister Mohammed Safadi. Both Egyptian and Lebanese prime ministers also attended the signing.

The pipeline from Egypt has reached the Jordanian-Syrian border and will be extended northwards to Turkey. The terms of the agreement stipulate that Egypt must supply Lebanon with natural gas within a year from signing the agreement in April.

The announcement comes as a relief for the two countries, which have refuted reports the gas pipeline project will be suspended over cross-border differences.

"The agreement covers quantities of gas, pricing, delivery methods and time schedules," said the Egyptian oil ministry in a statement, adding that export contracts would follow.

Exports will happen sooner than planned if Lebanon has the means to take deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, Lebanon does not currently have a dedicated terminal, which is required for the unloading of LNG.

It is also expected Lebanon will have the option of taking gas from a branch pipeline, which will be built between the central Syrian city of Homs and the north Lebanese port of Tripoli.

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