Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Egypt's oil and gas pipelines at a standstill

The SudMed pipeline which carries Saudi and Persian Gulf oil to the Egyptian Mediterranean is at a standstill. The military rulers in Cairo and the SudMed owners, Arab Petroleum Pipelines, say it is working normally. But debkafile's sources have confirmed that the pipeline, which carries 3.1 million barrels of oil per day from the Red Sea northwest along 322 kilometers west of the Delta up to Egypt's Mediterranean coast, was idle Monday and Tuesday morning, Feb. 14 and 15, due to a general strike by its Egyptian workers as part of their anti-regime protest.
Nonetheless, APP issued a statement that "Operations at the pipeline terminals at Ain Sukhna on the Red Sea and Sidi Kerir in the Mediterranean were running normally, with tankers being accommodated without delays."

This week, US oil sources played down the impact of the SuMed stoppage on world energy and tanker freight prices. A spokesman of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) informed Congress Monday: "The increase in tanker requirements traffic would be modest in the context of current global oil shipment flows."

He did not mention the halted flow through the Egyptian pipeline or that most of the Egyptians employed at the Suez Canal and pipeline facilities are on strike. He only commented: "A disruption in oil shipments through the Suez Canal or SuMed pipeline would not add much to costs" – without saying how much it would affect world fuel prices.