By Taylor Luck

EGYPTIAN GAS supplies to Jordan have resumed as officials pledged to continue to explore energy alternatives.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, gas supplies to the Kingdom resumed last Friday, ending a nearly two-week disruption following an attack on the Arab Gas Pipeline.

It is believed that gas supplies have returned at a level of around 100 million cubic feet per day, well below the 240 million cubic feet detailed in a 15-year agreement between the two sides.

Prior to the blast, Cairo was set to boost supplies to 150 million cubic feet per day as per a revised deal reached in August, which calls for supplies to reach 220 million cubic feet by 2012.

An explosion in late September, which marked the sixth act of sabotage on the pipeline this year, forced the Kingdom’s power plants onto their diesel and heavy oil reserves at a cost of around JD3 million per day.

Multiple cuts in gas supplies, which Jordan relies on for 88 per cent of its electricity generation needs, cost the Kingdom JD637 million in the first half of the year and are expected to push the national energy bill to record highs, well above JD4 billion.

Meanwhile, the ministry is exploring the import of natural gas from Qatar.

A Qatari firm is also believed to be among several international companies vying for a bid to construct the Kingdom’s first offshore gas terminal, slated to be built off the Red Sea Port of Aqaba by 2013.

The move comes as part of an overall strategy to import liquefied gas to meet a five-year “gap” ahead of the development of domestic energy sources such as oil shale, wind and nuclear power.

The Kingdom imports 98 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of 23 per cent of the gross domestic product.