Egypt’s cement plants to run on coal

cement-sekihan-flickrEgypt’s cement plants have been retrofitted by owners to run on coal, in an attempt to overcome the shortage of gas supply in the country

According to Reuters, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding (EGAS) has been supplying gas intermittently. In order to overcome this shortage, the government has allowed cement companies to run their plants on coal, and is considering granting individual licences to companies import coal as well.

An official in the government said that burning coal in cement plants alone would save 12mn cu/m of gas per day. Egypt’s cabinet added that 38 local and international companies have already applied to build power plants using coal or renewable energy.

Jens Zimmerman, energy markets analyst for Wood Mackenzie, said, “Most of Egypt’s cement producers have been working towards switching fuel because of unreliable gas supply and high prices. Some have already started importing coal.”

Arabian Cement has already imported 700,000 tonnes of coal so far from South Africa, Ukraine and Spain, according to Haitham El Shaarawy, an investor relations manager. Lafarge Cement Egypt has also converted its sole cement plant in the country to run on coal and has applied for a permit to import coal, said a company spokesperson. Suez Cement has begun coal testing at its Kattameya plant, and plans to begin testing at the Suez plant by end 2014, stated officials from the company.

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