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Jordan potash firm in talks with Israel to buy gas

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Jordan’s Arab Potash Company (APC), one of the world’s largest potash producers, is in talks with an Israeli firm to buy gas to power its plants and reduce production costs, the government said on Monday.

“The APC is in contact with its Israeli counterpart through the American oil and gas firm Noble Energy to examine the possibility of importing gas,” the ministry of energy said in a statement.

“The gas available in the Dead Sea area is a clean and inexpensive source of fuel and the company seeks to use it for its factories on the Dead Sea. But no agreement has been reached so far.”

APC’s main shareholders are the Jordanian government, which owns around 26 percent, the Potash Corporation of Canada with 28 percent and the Saudi-based Arabian Mining Company with 20 percent.

The firm has said its 2012 net profits fell 34 percent to 198.8 million dinars ($280 million), mainly because of lower global demand and high fuel costs.

Egyptian gas covers 80 percent of electricity production demand in Jordan, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs.

But the daily gas flow to the energy-poor kingdom has dropped from 250 million cubic meters (8.8 billion cubic feet) to around 130 million cubic meters after repeated pipeline attacks on Egypt’s pipelines.