Delek Drilling CEO: Gas exports to Egypt, Jordan could begin this year

"Our objective was to flow gas to the Israeli market [from the Leviathan gas field] by the end of 2019, and we are even ahead of our original December target," Abu said.

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September 11, 2019 11:37
2 minute read.
Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu speaks at the The Jerusalem Post-Ma'ariv Elections Conference, Septembe

Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu speaks at the The Jerusalem Post-Ma'ariv Elections Conference, September 11 2019. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Natural gas exports from Israel to neighbors Egypt and Jordan could commence before the end of the year, Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu said on Wednesday.

"Our objective was to flow gas to the Israeli market [from the Leviathan gas field] by the end of 2019, and we are even ahead of our original December target," Abu said at a pre-election conference hosted by The Jerusalem Post and Maariv.

"Israel, Jordan and Egypt will start receiving gas from Leviathan, even before the end of this year," said Abu.

In February 2018, Delek Drilling and Noble Energy signed a $15 billion decade-long deal to supply 64 billion cu.m. of natural gas to Egypt's Dolphinus Holdings from the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields, with the latter already supplying natural gas to Israel since 2013.

The deal with Egypt follows a September 2016 agreement worth $10 billion between Jordan’s National Electric Power Company Ltd. and the Leviathan project partners to supply a gross quantity of 45 billion cu.m. of natural gas to Israel’s eastern neighbors over a 15-year period.

According to Reuters, Egyptian petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said on Tuesday that plans to start gas exports from Israel to Egypt are on track but further steps are still needed before exports can commence.

"Everything is agreed on… countries (involved) have already given their blessings. There is no issue in that," said Molla during the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

"It’s a multilateral deal, a gas deal and a pipeline deal so it is a little bit [of] a lengthy process. That’s why it is taking a little bit of time.”

One of the largest natural gas fields discovered worldwide in the last decade, the Leviathan reservoir is expected to contain up to 605 billion cu.m. (BCM) of natural gas, equivalent to 65 years of domestic gas consumption.

Project partners Delek Drilling, Noble Energy and Ratio Oil Exploration have invested a total of $3.75 billion in the development of the reservoir since its discovery in 2010. The natural gas production platform, located 10 km. from Israel’s shores, is currently in its final stages of construction and will undergo a series of commissioning tests before starting to pump gas.

"The Israeli market consumed approximately 11 BCM of natural gas last year, and we have Leviathan with more than 600 BCM of gas and Tamar with approximately 300 BCM," Abu said.

"Israel is completely independent in energy production, and we have decades of energy security. That ought to lead Israeli policymakers to get rid of everything that isn't natural gas for producing energy.

"It should also advance electric and compressed natural gas vehicles, because we are becoming completely independent with blue and white energy in all areas of power consumption," said Abu.

On Sunday, Israeli fuel transit company Europe Asia Pipeline Co. (EAPC) and East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG) announced an important agreement enabling the use of EAPC infrastructure to transport gas to Israel’s southern neighbor.

The agreement will enable EMG to operate EAPC’s coastal terminal in Ashkelon, which is required to flow gas through EMG’s 90 km.-long subsea pipeline joining the Israeli gas network to the Egyptian network near El-Arish.

Delek Drilling said in July that it had successfully completed testing of the EMG pipeline, which has laid dormant since 2012. The pipeline is expected to carry seven billion cu.m. of natural gas annually once in operation.


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