BEDUIN man looks at a gas pipeline in Sinai 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israeli partner in the natural gas consortium with Egypt has written off its
entire investment, while a US energy giant said it would link two small gas
fields to Israel’s central supply to help offset the
Ampal-American Israel Corp. said this week that it had
concluded its portion of East Mediterranean Gas Company to be of no value, after
a string of attacks on the gas pipeline over the last year and Cairo’s
subsequent severance of the gas flow altogether. Egyptian authorities claimed
their Israeli partners had fallen behind on payments.
On Wednesday, a
spokesman for Noble Energy said it intends to connect two small natural gas
fields off Israel’s southern coast to the country’s central gas supply to avoid
summer electricity shortages due to the cut-off.
Spokesman Binyamin Zomer
told the AFP news agency that Noble had drilled in the Noa and Pinnacle gas
fields off the coast of Ashdod. He said the company planned to connect the gas
fields by pipeline to the nearby Mari-B platform, and from there to the
“It’s something that we’ve done in order to mitigate the absence
of Egyptian gas. The government wants us to do it, our customers want to do it
and we wanted to do whatever we could to make sure that gas was delivered to the
Israeli market,” he told AFP without specifying how much gas the fields would
Israel generates 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas,
and before the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak last year, received 43%
of that gas from its western neighbor.
On Wednesday, news emerged that
Cairo had resumed its gas supply to Jordan.
The past year’s pipeline
attacks in Sinai have halted deliveries to both Israel and Jordan for months.
Still, this week’s resumption of gas flow to Jordan has not been matched by a
similar commitment to Israel.
The Egyptian Natural Gas Company announced
that deliveries to the Hashemite kingdom will gradually increase from 500
million cubic meters a year to more than 1.5 billion cubic meters.
Shaffer, an energy policy and management expert at the University of Haifa, said
Egypt’s gas economy remains precarious.
“I always thought export was
unsustainable because Egypt doesn’t produce enough gas,” she told The Jerusalem
. “A country with blackouts cannot allow itself to export gas.”
produces 70% of its electricity from natural gas, Shaffer said, and production
levels are constantly diminishing.
“The writing was on the wall,” she
said. “No country is going to export gas when they can’t meet their own
needs.”Globes contributed to this report.