Qatar signs agreement to operate Gaza power plant with natural gas
Qatar's Gaza Reconstruction Committee (GRC) Chief Mohammed Al-Emadi said in a press statement sent to The New Arab that the agreement included mechanisms for supplying and purchasing gas necessary to operate the power plant.
"Doha will fund about $60 million for the construction of the gas pipeline from an Israel-based supplier company to the Gaza border," Al-Emadi said.
He added that the European Union will contribute about $22.64 million to construct the gas pipeline from the coastal enclave borders to the power plant.
The Gaza Electricity Generating Company and Palestinian Energy Authority will convert the plant so it can operate on natural gas as an alternative to industrial fuel.
The project will increase the production capacity of the power plant to at least 500 megawatts in order to better meet the needs of residents of the Gaza Strip.
The agreement to convert the power plant was reached after years of negotiations with Israel.
The Palestinians originally established Gaza's sole power plant to provide about 80 percent of the electricity needed by residents, with the remainder coming from Egypt and Israel.
However, the Israeli warplanes bombed the power plant in 2006 in retaliation for the Hamas capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Since then, the 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip have been suffering from ongoing electricity cuts which sometimes reach up to 16 hours a day.