Unlike Jordan, Egypt seems okay about purchasing natural gas from Israel:
Israel and Egypt embarked on a new energy relationship Wednesday with the launch of a natural gas supply from Israel’s Leviathan field to its southern neighbor.
In the last year, Israel’s Delek Group and the American company Noble Energy – which together own 85% of the Leviathan field – completed the purchase of 39% of the Egyptian gas pipeline in partnership. The purchase, carried out in conjunction with Egypt’s state-owned company EGAS for about $520 million.
The start of the gas flow also marks the start of official gas exports from Israel to Egypt. The initial supply will come from Leviathan, but gas is also expected to flow this summer from Israel’s Tamar gas field.
In a statement on behalf of both Jerusalem and Cairo, Israel’s Energy Ministry said: “The flow of natural gas from Israel to Egypt has begun. This is an important development that will serve the economic interests of both parties.”
Egypt doesn’t really need natural gas for its own use. It has its own Mediterranean gas fields and actually has a surplus.
Apparently, this is the reason for Israel to export gas to Egypt:
According to both sides, the move “will also allow Israel to export some of its natural gas to Europe through Egypt’s liquefied natural gas facilities and promote Egypt’s status as a regional gas market.”
It’s a win-win.
|EMGF meeting last year|
Beyond that, there is a meeting today of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo. its members include Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. The forum is expected to vote to turn itself into an international organization during this meeting where the energy interests of all parties are protected.
This forum didn’t receive that much press coverage, but it shows Israel cooperating with Jordan, Egypt and the PA on natural gas issues. Projects include not only the Israeli gas deal with Egypt and to Europe but also a planned pipeline from Israel and Cyprus gas fields to Europe via Greece.
Moreover, this Daily Sabah article from last year practically begs the EMGF to allow Turkey to become a member as well (although they would seemingly want to kick out Cyprus.)
Lebanon and Syria are not members of the EMGF, but cash-strapped Lebanon might be longing to join and start to monetize its own gas fields in cooperation with Israel.
As an organization, the EMGF – or whatever the new name would be – has the potential of not only upending the energy map of the world but also to encourage peace between Israel and its neighbors who can all profit together.
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