A meeting with Israel’s Minister of Infrastructure, Energy and Water, Yuval Steinitz, was held in Cairo by Greek Minister for Environment and Energy, Costis Hatzidakis, on the cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy and geostrategy, as the two Ministers exchanged views on the prospects for the East Med Gas Forum (EMGF) to become an international organization, while they focused on the implementation course of the strategically important East Med Gas Pipeline project and the urgent need to sign as soon as possible the pending intergovernmental agreement between Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Israel.
At the same time, as mentioned in a relevant announcement by the Greek Ministry of Energy, the two Ministers discussed their respective reorganization experiences of their state electricity companies, which both countries faced and are facing, comparing the different models that they followed for the liberalization of the energy market.
At the same time, they expressed their satisfaction with the activity of Greek companies in the sector of exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Israel, while Kostis Hatzidakis expressed the hope for similar activities of Israeli companies in Greece.
Yuval Steinitz confirmed his participation in the forthcoming Tripartite Conference of the Energy Ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, which will be held in Athens on August 7, with the participation of US Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Francis Fannon.
Israel is expected in four months to start its gas exports to Egypt, according to the country’s Energy Minister.
This is expected to mark the start of a USD 15 billion export deal to Egypt of the joint venture of Israeli company Delek Drilling and the American Noble Energy.
Egypt, in the meantime, hopes to take advantage of its strategic position and its well-developed infrastructure in order to become a major international gas trading and distribution centre.
The agreement signed earlier last year provides for gas to be supplied and sent from the offshore deposits of Tamar and Leviathan in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone into Egypt.
Delek, Noble and Egyptian company East Gas have agreed to buy a share of the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) Company pipeline which links southern Israel with the Sinai Peninsula, in order to make the transport of gas between the two countries possible.
The agreement, according to Yuval Steinitz, to buy shares of the EMG pipeline, is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
“It might be just one line, it might be two lines, it might be a gas line from both Cyprus and Israel towards Egypt,” he said.
Discussions are already in progress regarding the construction of an additional pipeline running through the Eastern Mediterranean directly from Israeli and Cypriot gas platforms to LNG terminals in the Nile Delta, the Israeli official said, adding that the possibility of building new land infrastructure is also being examined.
“If, as we have said, we believe that this is only the beginning, that much more gas will be discovered… then what we see today is just the beginning and we should not just take one step, but two and three steps forward.”
It is noted that the East Med Gas Forum is taking place for the second time since January, when the participants agreed to create an intergovernmental regional gas market.
Participants are Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Italy, while Lebanon may join in the future./ibna