15 January 2019, News Wires — Israel will begin exporting natural gas to Egypt “in a few months’ time”, Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz said on Monday.
Steinitz did not give a specific target for initial exports, but said shipments will double after the huge Leviathan field in the eastern Mediterranean comes fully online in November.
As well as Leviathan, two smaller fields are expected to come online in the next few years. Steinitz said Israeli exports to Egypt were expected to reach 7 billion cubic meters annually over 10 years.
Steinitz was speaking on the sidelines of a regional gas forum in Cairo, where he said Israel and Egypt had discussed how to extend cooperation on natural gas, including through exports. .
Egypt is hoping to leverage its strategic location straddling the Suez Canal, its land bridge between Asia and Africa and its well-developed infrastructure to become a key trading and distribution centre in the region and beyond.
In September, Israeli and Egyptian companies bought a 39 percent stake in the EMG pipeline, paving the way for a landmark $15 billion natural gas export deal to begin this year.
Partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields had said they would supply the private Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings with around 64 billion cubic metres of gas over a decade as part of the deal.
Half will come from each field, and the proceeds will be split equally, they said.
The deal has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until a few years ago exported gas to Israel.
Egypt has rapidly increased its domestic production of natural gas and hopes to become a hub for exporting to Europe after making a series of big discoveries in recent years, including the largest gas field in the Mediterranean, Zohr.