Israel to work with Egypt, Palestinians on developing Gaza gas field

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Jun 2023

Israel gave preliminary approval to work with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to develop the Gaza Marine gas field off the Gaza coast, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced on Sunday.

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FILE - A general view of Gaza s sole power plant. AFP

 

The decision “emphasizes Palestinian economic development and maintains regional security and stability,” according to a statement issued by PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.  

The statement further said Israel agreed to develop the Gaza Marine field "after the National Security Council examined the relevant security and diplomatic interests”.

Israel will carry out the project in collaboration with Egypt – through direct talks –  and the PA, the statement said.

According to The Jerusalem Post, EGAS, a gas company owned by the Egyptian government, is expected to develop the gas field, which is located about 30 km (20 miles) from Gaza's shores and which holds more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to estimates. 

Cairo and Tel Aviv have produced gas in the Eastern Mediterranean for years, yet the Gaza Marine field remained undeveloped due to political disputes and conflict with Israel.

Israel, Egypt, and the PA revived talks on developing the field after Russia invaded Ukraine last year; and after the Europeans began looking for alternatives to Russian energy.

Egypt and the PA  announced the deal in October, but they were waiting for approval from Israel. 

On May 30, Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly welcomed Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Ashtiah in Cairo to discuss economic cooperation with the Ramallah-based PA.

The field is expected to provide enough energy to power the Palestinian territories; it may even produce a surplus which can potentially be exported, thus improving the Palestinians' economic conditions.

The project will cost $1.4 billion and would allow for gas production early next year, The Washington Post reported in November.

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