A shipment of LNG gas. Pic credit: AFP
LNG shipment
LNG shipments to Egypt will be converted to gas and pumped to the national grid to stabilise the required capacity during the summer months. Pic credit: Höegh LNG

Egypt’s electricity blackouts have decreased this summer compared to previous summers as the government received fuel supplies for power stations, Ministry of Electricity spokesperson Mohamed Al-Yamani told the Daily News Egypt on Monday.

The eighth liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment, which arrived on Saturday in Ain Sokhna Port from Norway’s Höegh Floating Storage and Regas Unit (FSRU), will be converted to gas and the subsequently generated power added to the national grid.

Chairman of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Khaled Abdel Badie, said that the size of a single shipment of LNG ranges between 140,000 and 170,000 cubic metres, and companies were contracted to supply 42 shipments annually for the next five years.

Urgent plans to increase capacity

During Egypt’s 2014 summer season, natural gas shortages at electricity plants had prompted the government to reduce the load on the national grid by cutting off power. The deficit at the time was estimated to be approximately 2,500MW.

According to Al-Yamani all power stations in Egypt have undergone full maintenance between October 2014 and May this year and 3,632MW has been added to the national grid through the implementation of the ministry’s urgent plan to meet the electricity demand.

To address the capacity issue, the government’s plans include the importation of additional quantities of natural gas, to improve the efficiency of transferring fuel and diesel to stations, and to add more stations to the national grid.

According to Hafez Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (Egyptera), the country needs EGP170 million (ZAR270 million) daily, and EGP58 billion (ZAR92 billion) annually to produce electricity. He added that during the summer months an additional EGP60 million (ZAR95 million) per day is required to meet the demand.

Increasing generation capacity

Earlier this month, a 1,000MW combined cycle power plant was inaugurated in Asyut, with an investment cost of around $746 million (ZAR9 billion). The power plant, established jointly by Egyptian Orascom and General Electric, has eight generating units each with a capacity of 125MW.

The Ain Sokhna LNG power station, which operates on natural gas and diesel, is part of the government’s 2012-2017 five-year plan to meet all the electricity needs of different socio-economic sectors.

Featured pic credit: AFP