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Israel will begin exporting natural gas to Egypt in a few months. According to Israel's energy minister, the European Union hopes to import more natural gas from Eastern Mediterranean countries in the future to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas.
Energy officials from Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan and Palestine met in Cairo, Egypt, on the 14th to discuss cooperation in the field of natural gas.
Israel's energy minister, Juval Steinitz, was interviewed by the media during the meeting, saying that Israel would soon begin exporting natural gas to Egypt via pipelines, "possibly in two or three months".
Steinitz said the Liviasson gas field in the eastern Mediterranean is expected to start production in November, when Israel's gas exports to Egypt will double. He said that over the next 10 years, Israel is expected to export 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to Egypt, about half of which will be used in Egypt's domestic market, and the rest will be liquefied and re-exported by Egypt.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Israel has discovered a large number of natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The annual output of natural gas is about 10.05 billion cubic meters, and it is expected to increase to 27 billion cubic meters in 2021.
Israel and Egypt signed an agreement in February last year to export natural gas from two major offshore gas fields, Tamar and Liviasson, to Durfenus Holdings, Egypt, with orders totalling about $15 billion.
Reuters reported that Israel's export of natural gas to Egypt was a "key step" in promoting natural gas exports and promoting Israel-Egypt relations.
Relations between Israel and Egypt have steadily improved in recent years. Energy Minister Steinitz is the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Egypt since the political turmoil in 2011.
[Looking at Europe]
After the meeting on January 14, the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum issued a statement saying that the participants agreed to establish an Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum in Cairo, with the main objective of "forming a regional natural gas market to ensure that supply meets demand in a way that benefits member countries".
These countries are scheduled to meet again in April to discuss the structure of the business forum. The statement said that the Forum was willing to accept new members.
EU representatives attended the meeting. According to Steinitz, the EU hopes to import more natural gas from Eastern Mediterranean countries in the future to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas.
The Associated Press reported that the European Union encouraged the opening of new gas pipelines to Europe, including the construction of an eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline.
Israel announced in November last year that it would work with Cyprus, Greece and Italy to build the eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline, which is expected to be completed by 2025. According to the design, the pipeline arrives in Italy from Israel via Cyprus and Greece, transporting natural gas produced by Israel and Cyprus and possible future gas produced by Greece to Italy, and then to other European countries.
Steinitz said the four countries are expected to sign an agreement on the pipeline in a few weeks. "Israel's export of natural gas to the Arab world and Europe sounded like a dream or a fantasy 10 or 15 years ago."
Egypt hopes to use its strategic location and relatively adequate infrastructure to connect Africa and Asia to become a regional gas trading and distribution center, Reuters reported. The Associated Press reports that Egypt intends to liquefy natural gas and ship it to Europe.