Egypt, a gas producer and exporter, has agreed to import Algerian gas but is still discussing amounts, the prime minister said on Wednesday, a move that might be aimed at helping Egypt meet its own export contracts while domestic demand rises.
Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, who recently returned from a trip to Algeria, told reporters that Egypt was also in talks to import gas from Qatar.
Egypt has two LNG plants and a pipeline to export gas, but energy industry sources say the government has been diverting some gas contracted for export to the domestic market, which suffered fuel shortages and electricity cuts in the summer.
Cairo is also working on resolving visa issues with Algiers and lifting a ban that forbids Egyptians from entering parts of Algeria, Qandil was reported as saying on Tuesday by the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.
The PM added that the two nations are in discussions over ways to increase their industrial co-operation via direct investment or joint-ventures focusing on the petrochemicals sector.
He also said that Egypt was looking for ways to broaden job opportunities for Egyptians in Algeria.
On Tuesday, Qandil denied a report in an Egyptian newspaper that claimed his government had asked Algeria for a $2 billion grant.
"The Egyptian government didn't propose this request," the state-run MENA news agency quoted the prime minister as saying.