A chronic gas shortage may stymie Egypt's petchem ramp-up plans.

The Ethydco subsidiary of Egyptian state petrochemicals firm Echem is ready to start up the 460,000 tons/year ethylene cracker at the heart of the ethylene and polyethylene complex it has been building at Alexandria on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla visited the site this week and was told that test operations only await a supply of gas from state utility Egas.

The new cracker will require...