Israel and Russia will begin cooperating in the renewable energy field, officials decided on Wednesday at an annual working group meeting between the Israeli Energy and Water Ministry and the Russian Energy Ministry.

As part of the week-long meeting, Israeli Energy and Water Ministry director-general Shaul Zemach hosted Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anton Inyutsyn and his delegation, the Israeli ministry reported.

The goal of the group’s assembly was to explore ways in which the two offices could enhance cooperation, focusing specifically on the fields of natural gas, electricity, renewable energy and energy conservation, according to the ministry. At the meeting, both sides also reviewed the latest developments in the energy sectors of both Israel and Russia.

“I welcome the execution of the working group, which will contribute to the economic advancement of the two states and help them strengthen ties between their business sectors,” said Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau.

“I have no doubt that cooperation with an energy superpower of Russia’s size will give momentum to the development efforts of the gas and energy market in Israel.”

Also present at the gathering were representatives from the Russian natural gas government firm Gazprom, who stressed that the company continued to have an interest in the exploration, development and export industries of natural gas in Israel.

Earlier this week, Gazprom, as well as several other natural gas giants from around the world, lost a bid to Australian firm Woodside, which will be gaining a 30 percent stake in the Leviathan gas reservoir as part of a $2.5 billion deal. The largest operator of gas and oil production in Australia, Woodside also specializes in operating liquefied natural gas facilities, a mode for exporting natural gas that the Israeli government has expressed hopes of employing.

Outside the natural gas sector, however, the Russian and Israeli energy officials agreed to establish a new working group that will formulate a memorandum of understanding on renewable energy and energy conservation partnerships, according to the ministry. The group will create a work plan for cooperation and for examining the feasibility of establishing a binational research fund for joint projects in these areas, the ministry said.

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