Tamar gas field.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The government's gas deal is essential for Israel's strategic regional interests, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) wrote Sunday.
Hanegbi penned a letter to Knesset Economics Committee chairman Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), asking him to bring to the panel's member's attention that Leviathan partners (Delek and Noble Energy) intend to sign a gas export contract with the Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings.
Cabel is holding a series of meetings on the gas deal. According to law, the committee may advise the Economy Minister - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - on his use of a clause allowing him to circumvent the Antitrust Commissioner in matters of national security. The advice is non-binding.
"The fact that Israel will export gas to the Egyptian market is a very important strategic asset," Hanegbi wrote.
On Wednesday, the gas companies announced that they had signed a letter of intent to negotiate the export of as much as 4 billion cubic meters of gas annually to the Egyptian firm.
If the letter of intent becomes a full-fledged deal, the agreement would set a floor price for the gas that links it the price of oil. The partners said they expected to quickly cement a contract, which would last 10-15 years.
According to the Likud MK, the potential agreement, as well as other letters of intent signed with Jordan and with liquefaction facilities in Egypt, will "promote regional stability, help preserve our peace agreements and deepen the ties between moderate forces in the Middle East."
Niv Elis contributed to this report.