Egypt, Israel ministers discuss plans for liquefying Israeli gas by Egyptian firms

Ahram Online , Monday 9 Aug 2021

Egypt's Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla and Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar held a bilateral discussion over the phone on Monday

Tarek El-Molla
Tarek El-Molla

Plans for pumping Israeli natural gas to Egypt for liquefication for re-export were discussed by Egypt's Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla and Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar on Monday.

The pair, who spoke by phone, also exchanged views about cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), according to a joint statement by the Egyptian and Israeli ministries.

El-Molla and Elharrar stressed the necessity of strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the EMGF’s members "to unlock the full potential of gas in the region," the statement added.

Established in 2019 as an international organisation headquartered in Cairo, the forum aims to establish a regional gas market in the Eastern Mediterranean and enhance trade relations among the member states.

The EMGF’s founding countries are Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, and Italy.

"Reinforcing bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of natural gas among the members of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum will have a substantial impact and will extend beyond the Eastern Mediterranean region," the statement quoted El-Molla as saying during the call.

"Egypt is an important partner for Israel in all fields," Elharrar said, adding that "the geographical proximity, in addition to the similarity of environmental characteristics, gives this cooperation in the energy sector great significance."

The Israeli minister expressed her wish for such cooperation to help in benefiting from the capabilities and expertise of each country to achieve what she called “energy security” for all the peoples of the region, the statement concluded.

In early 2020, Israel began exporting natural gas to Egypt under a deal signed between a private firm in Egypt, Dolphinus Holdings, and Israel's Leviathan and Tamar offshore fields over 15 years, according to Reuters

Under the deal, the first in decades, the gas is being supplied via a subsea pipeline connecting Israel and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Dolphinus Holdings is using the gas imported from the two fields to supply large industrial and commercial consumers in Egypt, as well as re-exporting some to outside markets, mainly in Europe.

Egypt, which achieved self-sufficiency in natural gas by the end of September 2018, has since then been seeking to become a regional energy hub.
The booming of the North African country's gas production was supported by huge gas discoveries and production, which reached over seven billion cubic feet per day.

The giant Zohr field, discovered by Italian energy company Eni in 2018, was one of the most important finds. It is currently producing about 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from 13 wells.

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