|11-07-2014, 12:41 PM||#1|
Egypt cement factories turning to coal amid energy shortage
Egypt’s largest cement producers have started to modify their plants to operate on energy from imported coal rather than gas amid a nationwide energy shortage that have hampered industrial output in Egypt.
The country has been plagued with an energy crisis in recent years, with supply from state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has been discontinuous and power blackouts have become common.
Companies were highly affected by the government’s decision to cut natural gas supplies to local factories in January, which resulted in Egyptian cement companies importing clinker at a costly price.
The government aimed to preserve natural gas to generate power to avoid public unrest in the wake of a wave of power blackouts in recent times.
However, the Egyptian government approved the use of coal in April, which should help cement companies boost their output and decrease manufacturing costs.
The use of coal is highly attractive now because global prices are trading around five-year low, as coal exporters have been increasing output, and demand has slowed down.
Some of the companies in Egypt have already started retrofitting their plants to run on coal.
Coal traders will soon start to identify Egypt as a possible market for coal, but demand from cement makers alone is still not big enough to affect prices or global supply. Egypt could turn into a market once power producers and the rest of the economy starts to use coal.
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