Israel an ‘energy power’ as gas tap turned on

The export of natural gas to Egypt started on Jan. 15 has “turned Israel into an energy power,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday during his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

He referred to the deal between Israel and Egypt as a “singular economic and diplomatic event” because Israel has “spreading itself to the Arab world and into Europe” through the gas pipeline.

Israel has no diplomatic relations with most of the Arab states, though it has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

On Jan. 15, commercial gas started to be transported via a subsea pipeline from Israel’s offshore Leviathan natural gas reservoir to Egypt.

Under the deal, Dolphinus Holdings, a private company in Egypt, will buy 85 billion cubic meters of gas at a cost of about 19.5 billion U.S. dollars from Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar over a period of 15 years.

According to a statement issued on Jan. 15 by the Israeli and Egyptian energy ministries, the move “will also allow Israel to export some of its natural gas to Europe through Egypt’s liquefied natural gas facilities and promote Egypt’s status as a regional gas market.”

Leviathan is a huge 622-billion-cubic meter gas reservoir that was found off Israel’s Mediterranean coast in 2010.

Gas production in Tamar, a nearby smaller gas field, kicked off in March 2013.