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Israel energy minister calls Egypt gas discovery a 'wake up call'

Israeli Leviathan gas reserves were thought to be the largest in the Mediterranean Sea until the discovery of the Zohr prospect in Egypt's economic waters

Ahram Online , Monday 31 Aug 2015
Israel
File photo of Israeli Energy minster Yuval Steinitz (Photo: Reuters)
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Israeli Energy minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday Zohr's 30-trillion-cubic-feet gas field discovered in Egypt should be a wake-up call for his country to seal an agreement on its Mediterranean Sea reserves, Times of Israel reported.
 
“The discovery of the massive gas field in Egypt is a painful reminder that while Israel sleepwalks and dallies with the final approval for the gas road map, and delays further prospecting, the world is changing in front of us, including ramifications for [Israeli] export options,” Steinitz said.
 
The American Noble Energy and Israeli Delek Group had faced opposition regarding a Cabinet-backed deal they proposed to the government to develop Israeli Tamar reserves discovered in 2009 and Leviathan gas reserves discovered in December 2010.
 
Israeli Leviathan gas reserves were considered the largest natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea, at 16 trillion cubic feet – around half of the size of the newly-discovered gas field in Egypt.
 
Italy's Eni announced Sunday the discovery of gas reserves of up to 30 trillion cubic feet in the Zohr prospect in Egypt's Mediterranean.
 
“Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds," Eni said in a Sunday statement.
 
"We are talking about a discovery that provides a third of Egypt's [natural gas] reserves which stands at 65 trillion cubic feet," Hamdy Abdel-Aziz, the petroleum ministry spokesman told Ahram Online.
 
He also said the government expects to reach self-sufficiency within five years.
 
“We must pass the gas road map and forward the Israeli gas industry,” the Israeli energy minster said, Israeli Army Radio reported, according to Times of Israel.
 
Israeli press expressed worries regarding the gas discovery in Egypt.
 
Israel Hayom newspaper read, "While Israel stalls, Egypt discovers a huge gas field," according to Times of Israel, which also reported that Israel Hayom said that the discovery translates into Israel facing a "dramatic increase" in competition in the energy market.
 
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