CAIRO, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- An explosion that ripped a natural gas pipeline in Egypt Saturday was triggered by a leak, not a terrorist attack, a company official said.
The Daily Telegraph and Sky News reported the head of Egypt's natural gas company, Magdy Toufik, disputed reports on state television that terrorists were to blame for the blast, which sent flames shooting into the air but caused no injuries.
While Sky News said Sinai regional Gov. Abdel Wahab Mabrouk had called the incident a case of "sabotage," Toufik said it was the result of a "small amount of gas leaking."
Ghaleb al-Maabrah, the head of the Jordanian National Electricity Co., confirmed to The Wall Street Journal the pipeline explosion "has led to suspending gas supplies to Jordan." Sky News reported officials said while the pipeline was carrying gas to Jordan, Israel temporarily shut down its service as "a precaution."
Egypt, where citizens have protested for 12 days seeking to topple President Hosni Mubarak, supplies the vast majority of natural gas to Jordan, about 240 million cubic feet a day, much of which is used by power plants.
Converting the plants to diesel fuel is possible but will be costly, amounting to $4.2 million per day for the switch. Jordan has a three-week supply of diesel fuel on hand to run its plants, the Journal said.
"It's a safety precaution," said Zeev Feiner, a spokesman for the East Mediterranean Gas Co., which sells Egyptian gas to Israelis.
This week Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu allowed Egypt to temporarily station 800 additional troops in the Sinai region, the area where the explosion took place. The additional troops otherwise would have violated a peace treaty between the two countries.