Two 10-years agreements, worth $15bn, to export Israeli natural gas to Egypt were signed on Monday. The agreements between Delek Drilling and Noble Energy—the operators of Israel’s largest natural gas fields Tamar and Leviathan—and the Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings, will supply Egypt with 7bn cubic metres of gas annually, according to the press statement issued by Delek Drilling.
According to the agreement, half of the amount to be supplied annually will originate from Tamar field, which is already operating, and the other half will come from Leviathan field, which is planned to begin operating next year.
The companies are considering different pipelines, including the East Mediterranean Gas Pipeline, and the Arab Gas Pipeline via Jordan. Delek and Noble announced their plans to negotiate with East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG) which owns the latter pipeline, said the statement.
The CEO of Delek Drilling said Egypt is becoming a real gas hub and that the deal will be the first of more potential deals in the future, according to Reuters.
On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement that it is an historic agreement, and that it will bring billions to the country.
An earlier memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Noble and Dolphinus, aiming to once again make use of the EMG pipeline, but in the reverse direction, was signed in 2015, but the negotiations were halted for arbitration in the gas dispute between the two countries to be settled, after Egypt halted its exports to Israel.
Earlier in February, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration ruled that Egypt should pay $1.003bn as compensation to EMG, which operated the pipeline that had been delivering the gas to Israel.
Osama Kamal, an oil and gas industry expert and former petroleum minister, told Daily News Egypt it is still a MoU that will be studied further. He added that the agreement is between private sector companies from the two countries and not the government, which means the gas supplied would not be used to fulfil essential domestic market needs.
Kamal explained that the foreign partners operating in the Egyptian and Israeli fields, and in the Egyptian LNG plants in Idku and Damietta, are looking to operate and make use of those LNG plants, for re-exports from Eastern Mediterranean gas fields.
He added that both Cyprus and Israel need Egypt, as it is their only hope for exporting their natural gas, as it already has all the necessary infrastructure in place.