Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has signed the permits required for Israel to begin exporting natural gas to Egypt, the Jerusalem Post reported on Monday. The exports, it noted, are expected to start next month.
"The permits were granted after all the required procedures were completed, including the approval of the Israel Competition Authority," added the Israeli newspaper.
Gas will be exported from the Leviathan and Tamar fields in the Mediterranean Sea. A maximum of 60 billion cubic metres (bcm) will be pumped from Leviathan and 25 bcm from Tamar over a 15-year period at a cost to Egypt of $15 billion. The deal was agreed between the two countries a couple of years ago.
"This makes Israel an energy exporter for the first time," said Steinitz, "and an important partner in the regional energy economy." He referred to this as the "most important" economic cooperation between Israel and Egypt since the announcement of the peace treaty. "This is a historic event for the state of Israel."