Gas Flows from Israel to Egypt

On Wednesday 15th January, the Israeli and Egyptian energy ministries issued a rare joint statement.

Israel has started pumping natural gas to Egypt from two massive offshore fields – a major milestone in the development of co-operation between two countries that were previously enemies.

The Leviathan Gas RigThe Leviathan gas rig (photo: Elad Gershgoren)

That event also marks the start of official gas exports from Israel to Egypt. Initially the gas will come from the Leviathan field, but in the summer it will also flow from Israel`s Tamar field.

This new flow started two weeks after Israel signed an agreement with Cyprus and Greece over the development of the EastMed pipeline project, which aims to ship natural gas to Europe.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said that the project “supports a common aim for peace, security and stability in the particularly vulnerable region of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

The signing of this agreement came just weeks after Turkey and Libya made a separate agreement on sea boundaries in the Mediterranean – a move which was opposed by Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

Turkey made that agreement with the UN-backed Libyan government late in November, signing a memorandum of understanding to designate linked maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean, in an attempt to prevent more resource exploration activities in the area by Greece and Cyprus.

Turkish experts and media are said to have hailed the memorandum as a victory against Greek and Cypriot plans. But the wider community will see this as a provocative move that represents another threat to peaceful relations in a region that is already riddled with tensions.