Diplomacy

Egypt Slated to Start Importing Israeli Natural Gas in Early 2019

Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings plans to start importing gas from Israel in early 2019, Reuters news agency reported Sunday.

“Imports will start in small quantities first and will gradually increase to reach their climax in September 2019,” one source told Reuters. The source gave no details on prices or quantities.

In February, partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields — which include Delek Group, Isramco and Ratio — said that it had signed agreements with its associates to supply 2.26 trillion cubic feet (64 billion cubic meters) of gas from Israel’s offshore fields to Dolphinus over a 10-year period — a deal estimated to be worth $15 billion.

Half will come from each field, and the proceeds will be split equally, they said.

The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until a few years ago exported gas to Israel. However, instability in the Sinai Peninsula region where Egypt’s large gas fields are located and numerous Islamist and jihadist groups are based, have changed the strategic and economic landscape in the country.

The new agreement is meant to boost Egypt’s efforts to become a major regional energy exporter and the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hopes that the imports will help its ambitions to become a regional energy hub.

Israel started gas production at the Tamar offshore field in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence. Tamar, which began production in 2013, has estimated reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet).

Located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea area off the coast of Israel, Leviathan Natural Gas Field was discovered in December 2010 and set to begin production in 2019. The field is estimated to hold 18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cubic meters) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

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