Arab Gas Pipeline's first Syria section completing

The first Syrian section (Phase III) of the Arab Gas Pipeline is expected to be completed within the next 2-3 months, Syria's oil minister, Sufian Al Alao told OGJ in London.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

Eric Watkins
Special Correspondent

LONDON AND LOS ANGELES, July 3 -- The first Syrian section (Phase III) of the Arab Gas Pipeline is expected to be completed within the next 2-3 months, Syria's oil minister, Sufian Al Alao told OGJ in London. This 324-km (201-mi) section will link the Rihab power station in northern Jordan—24 km (15 miles) south of the Syrian border—to Homs, Syria.

Documents are being prepared for the two final Syria sections and for an extension of the pipeline another 230 km to the Turkish border to deliver Egyptian gas to Europe. "We hope to execute [these remaining Syrian sections] within the next 2 years," Al Alao said. "Syria, Turkey, and Egypt are in talks about financing and the execution of this part, either in one stage or two stages," he said.

Gas exports depend on the agreements reached between Egypt and Turkey, he added. The pipeline has a capacity of 10 billion cu m/year.

Much of the 600 km (373 mi) of pipelines in Syria (Phase III) is complete and will be commissioned in 2008. It is being built in three stages, Stage 1, completing by September, is the line from Rihab, Jordan, to Homs, Syria.

In Stage 2, the pipeline at Homs will split northwest to the Syrian port of Banyas on the Mediterranean and westward to the Zahrani refinery in Lebanon. Stage 3 of Phase III includes extending the pipeline northward to the Turkish border, and future phases will extend the line west under the Mediterranean to Cyprus.

Still further phases will extend the pipeline north through Turkey, where it will connect with the European gas pipeline system.

Previous speculation about the project also mentioned an extension to Lebanon, but Omar Al Hamad, general manager of the Syria Petroleum Co., told OGJ there are no talks with Lebanon about exports. "We will charge a transit fee, but let's see what happens," he said. The focus has been on securing enough gas for Syria's domestic needs, primarily for power generation.

Earlier phases complete
Egypt and Jordan in July 2003 initiated the Arab Gas Pipeline's $200 million first phase from Egypt to Jordan: 270 km (168 mi) of pipeline across the Sinai desert, with a 16-km (9.9-mi) subsea line under the Gulf of Aqaba from Taba to Aqaba. It delivers 1 billion cu m/year of Egyptian gas to the Aqaba Thermal Power Station, which provides 50% of Jordan's electricity.

The $300 million Phase II Jordan section extended the line 390-km (242-mi) from Aqaba in the south to the Rihab power station in northern Jordan. It was completed in December 2005.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com or Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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