The Suez Cement Company is to invest EGP 300 million (US$43million) to convert two of its four plants to use coal rather than natural gas. This follows the government’s controversial decision to import coal as a solution to the power shortages facing the country despite the disapproval of Minister of Environment, Laila Iskandar, in response to protests from factories.
The company’s business development director Mohammed Shanan said that each plant will cost EGP 150million (US$21million) for the conversion process to be completed. The country’s fuel shortage saw the company’s sales reduce by 50% in the first quarter of this year.
Suez Cement Company is one of the largest grey cement producers in Egypt with a production capacity of 4.1 million tons of clinker per year.
Egypt’s energy shortages are likely to get worse the next fiscal year which begins in July 1 with the Petroleum Ministry saying gas production will be 5.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day with consumption projected to be 5.57 bcf/day.
Natural gas supply to factories has been stopped by the government in a bid to preserve energy reserves. Suez Cement was, reportedly, recently testing to switch to usage of coal, recently.