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Egypt, Israel consider $15bn natural gas facility in Sinai

Pipeline [File photo]
Gas pipeline [File photo]

Egypt and Israel are mulling constructing a $10-15 billion liquefaction facility on the Red Sea in Sinai for export to Asia, reports the Globes, following a visit to Egypt by the Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz last week.

“The whole world must appreciate the great contribution Sisi has made to the stability of Egypt, which is necessary for the stability of the region,” said Steiniz at the Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo attended by several energy ministers in the region.

Steiniz’s visit last week included a tour of the pyramids with Egypt Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla during which they discussed joint initiatives on pumping gas. The meeting, and the proposed facility, is symbolic of tightening relations between Israel and Egypt over energy projects.

The new liquefaction facility in Sinai will be similar to one originally put forward by Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co to be constructed in Israel, near Eilat, but was scrapped after the Ministry of Environmental Protection opposed it.

Read: Israel energy minister in Egypt for talks on gas trade 

According to Globes, in Egypt the ability to delay such projects on environmental grounds is more limited.

Building it on the Red Sea will enable them to bypass the costs they would incur if transporting it through the Suez Canal.

Last week Steinitz announced that Israel’s natural gas exports to Egypt will begin in November as part of a $15 billion export agreement between Israel’s Delek Drilling and the US’ Noble Energy with an Egyptian counterpart.

Israel has called this deal the most significant to emerge since the 1979 peace treaty.

In 2011 protesters sabotaged the pipeline carrying Egyptian gas to Israel. When former President Mohamed Morsi was voted in Egyptian gas companies cancelled an agreement to supply gas to Israel.

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