Another pipeline blast sparks lawsuit

An Israeli board member of a Cairo-based energy company that delivers natural gas to Israel said this week that shareholders are seeking more than $8 billion in damages from the Egyptian government over attacks on the gas pipeline.

Four attacks, which began at the time of Egypt’s revolution in February, have repeatedly disrupted the flow of natural gas to Israel. The most recent blast occurred

July 12, as masked gunmen blew up the El-Arish terminal in the Sinai. The gunmen attacked the security guards before blowing up the pipeline, witnesses said.

Repairs had just been completed on a section of the pipeline that was blown up less than a week earlier. Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices in Israel are slated to increase by 18 percent, in part because of the shortage of natural gas.

Nimrod Novik, a board member of East Mediterranean Gas, said shareholders are concerned with “repeated terrorists’ successes” in upsetting gas deliveries. He said the company has sought damages in the international court of arbitration in Washington. — ap & jta