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Natural gas shortage in Egypt hits cement production

World Cement,

Egypt’s cement industry is suffering an energy shortage that has reportedly forced production to drop 20% over the last four months. The country is experiencing a gas shortage, as the government subsidy system favours exporting natural gas as LNG rather than using it for power generation. The situation is anticipated to worsen over the summer months when demand for electricity is at its highest.

Arabian Cement Company’s Suez plant has reportedly been worse hit, experiencing a 25% fall in production thus far, and anticipating this to hit 50% over the summer. The company, which is owned by Spanish company, Cementos La Union, has applied to switch to 70% coal and 30% RDF-based production. This would reduce its gas requirements by 378 million m3 pa. The application was made on 14 March, and the company has since followed up with requests for the environmental permit to be issued swiftly and for the removal of license fees associated with the use of natural gas.

The government is encouraging a more diverse energy mix, calling for plants to switch to coal. However, for the international cement industry’s sectoral approach to emissions reduction, a return to coal-firing is a backwards step. We recently reported on an alternative fuels conference in Egypt, led by MVW Lechtenberg, which discussed potential alternative fuel sources and appropriate means of processing and handling these materials.

Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui.

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