EastMed pipeline on the table as Israel relaunches gas exploration licenses

EastMed pipeline on the table as Israel relaunches gas exploration licenses

The EastMed gas pipeline project remains under “examination,” Israel’s energy minister said on Monday, announcing the country’s intention to issue new licenses for offshore natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean in a bid to export to Europe. 

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Karine Elharrar told Israeli financial daily Globes that a memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed in the coming weeks between Israel, Egypt and the European Union laying the infrastructure for Israeli gas sales via Egypt to Europe. 

According to Globes, other ways of transporting gas to Europe are also being examined, including on liquid natural gas (LNG) ships, “which would anchor off the coast of Israel, as well as various marine pipelines from the offshore fields to Egypt, Turkey or Western Europe.”

“Examination of the EastMed pipeline to Europe continues, and the question is whether it would be economically worthwhile to build the pipeline,” Elharrar added.

The EastMed agreement, signed in Athens in January 2020 by the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, seeks to create a pipeline transporting natural gas from the offshore reserves in the Levantine Basin to Europe via Greece.

“Alongside the real and sincere concern in Europe, there is a real opportunity for Israel to export natural gas to Europe,” Elharrar was quoted by Reuters as saying, adding that she has instructed the ministry to prepare for a new round of tenders for gas exploration off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, which is expected to begin in the third quarter.

“We established a three-way working group with Israel, Europe and Egypt. We will sign, I hope in the near future, a memorandum of understanding that will create the framework agreement for export,” she said. [Combined reports]

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