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Official: PA, Egypt received positive signs from Israel to develop natural gas field off Gaza

The headquarters of the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) in Cairo, on April 23, 2012 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/GettyImages]
The headquarters of the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) in Cairo, on April 23, 2012 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/GettyImages]

The Palestinian Authority and Egypt have received "positive signals" from Israel regarding the development of a natural gas field off the coast of the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said yesterday.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Investment Fund signed an agreement with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to develop the Gaza Marine field and the necessary infrastructure.

The source, who preferred not to be named, told Anadolu that the Egyptian side has also received positive signals from Israel to move forward with the Palestinians to develop the field.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Investment Fund, Muhammad Mustafa, said serious efforts are being made with the Egyptians to develop the field.

"The Egyptians have their political and geographic weight as well as experience in the gas sector," he said, adding that "with the support of the newly established Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, our opportunity has increased to exploit the field".

READ: Gaza, Egypt deal sparks dispute in Palestine

The Palestinian Investment Fund owns 27.5 per cent of the field.

Palestine is a member of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum founded two years ago, along with Israel, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Jordan and Greek Cyprus.

The Gaza Marine was discovered in the 1990s but Palestinians could not utilise it due to Israeli restrictions.

The field is located 36 kilometres west of the besieged Gaza Strip in the Mediterranean Sea and was developed in 2000 by British Petroleum (BP).

The field is seen as a way to allow the Palestinian territories to achieve energy independence. The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza currently receive the vast majority of their electricity from Israel.

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