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Egypt, Jordan get new loan for pipeline's 2nd phase

A consortium of Jordanian and Egyptian banks has signed an agreement worth $160 million to finance the construction of a pipeline between their two countries.

Jordanian banks, led by the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance contributed $90 million, while Egyptian banks gave $20 million and Egypt's state-run natural gas holding company (EGAS) contributed $50 million.

Jordan's state Petra news agency said the signing ceremony on Wednesday was attended by Jordanian Energy Minister Azmi Khreissat and Egypt's ambassador Mohammad Hijazi, as well as top banking officials from the two countries.

The grant will be used to finance the second phase of the construction of the pipeline which was inaugurated last year by Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

This phase will see 292 kilometers of pipeline laid from the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba to the northern region of Rihab.

Last month, the European Investment Bank (EIB) granted a loan of 100 million euros ($122 million) to EGAS to help finance the pipeline construction.

The pipeline in Jordan is part of a broader plan to distribute Egyptian natural gas to the region, including to the Zahrani refinery in northern Lebanon and the Syrian port of Banias, as well as to Cyprus and Turkey.

The first phase of construction involved an underwater pipeline to channel gas from the Egyptian resort of Taba to Aqaba, across the Red Sea.

Beirut,07 12 2004
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The Daily Star
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