* Egypt gas exports to Israel halted since late April
* Minister wants to negotiate flexible contracts, pricing
By Edmund Blair and Dina Zayed
CAIRO, June 2 Egypt is reviewing the timetable
for resuming gas exports to Israel and wants to negotiate more
flexible contracts with foreign gas buyers, the Egyptian oil
minister said on Thursday.
Asked when Egypt would resume the exports, Petroleum
Minister Abdullah Ghorab said the issue was "under review".
He was speaking at a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries
Forum (GECF) in Cairo.
Israel received natural gas from Egypt under a 20-year deal
signed in 2005, but flows were halted when an armed gang
attacked a metering station in North Sinai on April 27.
Supplies have been halted for over a month, and U.S.
investors in the company that operates the Israel export
pipeline, Ampal American Israel Corp AMPL.TA AMPL.O, have
taken legal steps against Egypt's government to ensure gas flows
Israel gets up to 45 percent of its natural gas from Egypt.
Egypt said in April it would review its gas contracts with
other states, including Israel and Jordan, amid accusations that
the government of deposed President Hosni Mubarak had improperly
negotiated the sale of gas at preferential prices.
In an apparent reference to Egypt's efforts to renegotiate
gas terms, Ghorab said on Thursday he favoured flexible
contracts and pricing formulas to allow a "fair and sustainable
relationship between sellers and buyers".
"This was exactly our understanding in Egypt of how this
relation should be when we got into a renegotiation process for
revising Egyptian export gas prices for our long-time contracts
that have been accomplished a long time ago under completely
different world market conditions," Ghorab said.
"Mutual understanding and a positive response from all
parties (should) help in achieving stable long-term supplies
that satisfy the interests of all parties", he added.
(Writing by Tom Pfeiffer, editing by Jane Baird)