Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) standing in the back to witness the signing of an energy MoU, 21 February (press photo)
Mohamed Mustafa, the adviser to the Palestinian president for economic affairs, said on Monday that Egypt would help Palestine extract natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea and export it to other countries if needed.
Mustafa’s remarks to the Voice of Palestine (VOP) come a day after Egypt and the Palestinian Authority signed a memorandum of understanding on developing the Gaza Marine natural gas field.
The MoU was signed during a visit by Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla to Ramallah and Israel, during which he met with Mustafa and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Minister El-Molla also met with Israel's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz in Jerusalem.
The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) will work with the Palestinian Authority on a deal to extract natural gas from the Mediterranean Sea and transport it to Palestinian areas, Mustafa said.
The natural gas surplus after extraction will be available for sale to the Egyptian side, he added.
Mustafa said Egypt can help Palestine export its natural gas thanks to Egypt’s infrastructure, factories and equipment required for the export process.
The natural gas can be transported via a pipeline from Gaza to Egypt and can then be exported, Mustafa explained.
So far, Egypt is the only country that has signed an MoU with the Palestinian side to develop the field.
The Gaza Marine natural gas field, located off the coast of the Gaza Strip, was discovered in 2000 in territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority. According to Reuters, it is estimated to hold more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Mustafa told VOP that the Palestinian attempts to extract the natural gas have always been thwarted by the Israeli stance, adding that his country is working with Egypt to develop the field as soon as possible.
Mustafa affirmed that the natural gas in the Mediterranean, especially off the coast of Gaza, is one of the most important natural resources from which Palestine seeks to benefit.