Egypt agrees with Israel on new gas pipeline project

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and his Egyptian counterpart Tarek El Molla “agreed on the construction of an offshore gas pipeline from the Leviathan gas field to the liquefaction facilities in Egypt”.
Monday 22/02/2021
A view of the platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea is pictured from the Israeli northern coastal city of Caesarea. (AFP)
A view of the platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea is pictured from the Israeli northern coastal city of Caesarea. (AFP)

CAIRO--Israel and Egypt’s energy ministers agreed Sunday to build a gas pipeline from the offshore Eastern Mediterranean Leviathan field to Egypt, aimed at boosting exports to Europe, an Israeli source said.

The Palestinians also said they had signed an agreement with Egypt’s energy minister, who visited Israel and the occupied West Bank, on developing a gas field off the coast of Gaza.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and his Egyptian counterpart Tarek El Molla “agreed on the construction of an offshore gas pipeline from the Leviathan gas field to the liquefaction facilities in Egypt,” the official said, asking not to be named.

The goal was “to increase the gas exports to Europe through the liquefaction facilities in Egypt, in light of the growing demand in Europe for natural gas,” he added.

The deal was announced as Molla visited Israel, where he also met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi as well as Steinitz.

A file photo of Tarek El Molla, Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. (REUTERS)
A file photo of Tarek El Molla, Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. (REUTERS)

The energy ministers and their teams met “in order to enlarge and to increase the cooperation in energy,” Molla said in a video released by Steinitz’s office.

Leviathan, discovered 130 kilometres (81 miles) west of the Mediterranean port city Haifa in 2010, is estimated to hold 535 billion cubic metres (18.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

US-based Noble and Israel’s Delek, the consortium leading the development of the Leviathan and the smaller Tamar field, struck a $15 billion 10-year deal last year with Egypt’s Dolphinus to supply 64 billion cubic metres (2.26 trillion cubic feet).

Israel began pumping gas from Leviathan in December 2019 and exporting to Egypt the following month.

Molla also signed a memorandum of understanding for Egypt to help develop the Gaza Marine field with the project’s two partners, the Palestine Investment Fund, the sovereign fund of the Palestinian Authority, and Consolidated Contractors Company.

Gaza Marine sits about 30km (19 miles) off the Palestinian enclave’s coast and is estimated to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.