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Story by Reuters:

Egypt’s state gas board has awarded a $2.2 billion (1.5 billion pounds) tender to import 75 cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to four international firms, its chairman said on Sunday, as the country seeks new energy sources.

Declining production and increasing consumption has turned the Arab world’s most populous country from an energy exporter to a net importer, prompting a flurry of activity in past months to boost foreign supplies.

The four companies will supply four cargoes a month over about two years, Khaled Abdel Badie of state-run EgyptianNatural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) told Reuters.

Abdel Badie did not identify the four companies. Seven firms, including London-based energy major BP, bid for the tender in October.

The country of about 90 million relies heavily on gas to generate power for households andindustry, but has had difficulty securing imports because it lacks a terminal to process LNG, which is natural gas chilled into a liquid state.

But after two years of delays, Egypt contracted Norway’s Hoegh LNG for a floating storage and regasification unit, opening the door to LNG imports once the terminal is operational by the end of March.

Since the deal with Hoegh was finalised, Egypt has signed a deal with Algeria for six LNG cargoes and expects to complete an agreement with Russia‘s Gazprom later this month.

(Reporting by Adel Abdel Rahman; Writing By Shadi Bushra; Editing by Michael Urquhart)