Egypt: Sinai Cement Company (SCC) has contracted Danish engineering company FLSmidth to provide the equipment for it to start using coal. SCC added that it would also partner with local contractors and suppliers to equip the factory to use coal as an alternative fuel source to natural gas and Mazut fuel oil.
The industrial sector, which is represented by the Federation of Egyptian Industries, has shown signs of accepting recent increases in automotive petroleum products prices, including fuel, diesel and natural gas. The sector said that it would bear the cost of the energy price increases taking into account the current economic situation 'that doesn't allow for any alternative.'
Following the fuel price hike announcement, the government has raised gas prices for cement plants to US$8 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) compared to US$6 previously. The price of fuel oil increased from US$209/t to US$315/t.
Despite the Ministry of Environment's opposition, the interim government approved the industrial use of coal as an alternative energy source in April 2014. The move came to address the energy shortage, pending the endorsement of the Environmental Impact Assessment. After issuing the decision, the government said that it would impose a tax on coal usage, while also amending laws and tightening penalties for violating environmental standards and regulations.
Minister of Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said that importing coal would not start until the environmental standards and regulations for the industrial use of coal have been finalised and ratified. However, cement plants have already started taking steps towards this. In a bid to shift to coal usage, the Arabian Cement Company commenced testing coal in June 2014 in thermal power generation. It aims to shift to this energy source for 50% of its needs. Suez Cement also recently announced plans to invest US$14.9m to convert two of its four cement plants to use coal. The conversion process for each plant will cost around US$21m.