Sources: Egypt nears deal to import LNG from Algeria

Egypt expects to agree a deal to import liquified natural gas from Algeria as early as this week, ministry sources said on Monday, as the country seeks to ease a chronic energy shortage.

The agreement for six Algerian cargoes of 145,000 cubic metres of LNG each could be signed on Monday or Tuesday during Minister Sherif Ismail's visit to Algiers, a ministry source told Reuters.

Egypt struck a deal in November with Norway's Hoegh LNG for a floating storage and regasification unit that will allow the country to begin importing LNG, a natural gas chilled to minus 162 degrees Celsius into a liquid state.

After repeated delays, it is expected to launch at the end of March.

Securing supplies from gas-exporter Algeria is one option Egypt is pursuing to ease its worst energy crunch in decades. The country of 86 million relies heavily on gas to generate power for households and industry.

Egypt's mainly oil-producing Gulf Arab allies cannot provide LNG.

The delegation will negotiate the price of the natural gas, "which will fall more than before after the drop in global oil prices," the source said.

Oil prices have fallen by about 47 percent since June, and benchmark Brent crude was trading at $60.10 on Monday.

Shipments are meant to begin in April if the deal is signed, a second source in the delegation told Reuters at Cairo's airport. 

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