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imageCAIRO: Egypt's state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has issued a tender for a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) which it hopes to use by next April, EGAS's deputy chairman told Reuters.

An FSRU is a floating terminal used to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). The tender was issued last week, Khaled Abdel Badie told Reuters by telephone, without giving further details.

"We are renting it," Abdel Badie said. "It is expected to be used by next April. We hope so. It depends on the offers."

Egypt can export LNG but cannot import it without such a terminal, of which there is a global shortage.

Qatar, the world's largest LNG exporter, agreed in May to donate five cargoes of LNG to Egypt and initial talks were held to acquire at least 13 more.

Egypt was able to allocate the Qatari LNG cargoes it received to foreign partners, freeing up more of its own gas for the domestic market.

In July, however, the Egyptian army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, throwing into doubt the deal with Qatar, his government's main financial backer.

Buffeted by political and economic turmoil since the overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt has struggled to find cash for energy imports, deepening fuel shortages and causing frequent power cuts.

Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a newspaper interview published last month that Egypt was close to agreeing a schedule for repaying $6 billion in outstanding debt to foreign oil companies.

Copyright Reuters, 2013


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