In light of Egypt’s recent substantial natural gas find, industry experts and government officials explored on Monday how both Israel and Cyprus might still be able to work with Cairo as they advance their hydrocarbon sectors.
“Egypt will probably become self-sufficient, but it may still need gas for its own use in the shorter term,” Dr. Charles Ellinas, CEO of the Cypriot E-C Natural Hydrocarbons Company (e-CNHC), said at the annual Israel Energy & Business Convention in Tel Aviv. “The question is – are they going to sign agreements now while they are developing their own gas?” Ellinas was discussing the possibility of Israel exporting gas to Egypt after the latter’s discovery of its Zohr field. At the end of August, the Italian firm Eni announced that it had identified the 849-billion cubic meter field, which would be the biggest in the Mediterranean if the firm’s estimates prove to be correct – significantly larger than Israel’s 621 b.cu.m. Leviathan.
Following the Egyptian discovery, industry experts have repeatedly warned that Israel must quickly seal its export deals with its neighbor.
Last year, the natural gas companies operating in Israel’s waters signed letters of intent for the provision of 71 b.cu.m. of Tamar gas to Spanish Union Fenosa’s Egyptian liquefied natural gas plant in Damietta, and for the supply of 105 b.cu.m. of Leviathan gas to the LNG plant in Idku, owned by British Gas – which was acquired in the spring by Royal Dutch Shell.