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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

You have an unstable Erdogan to thank for Israeli plans to export to Europe from Egypt

You have an unstable Erdogan to thank for Israel playing ball with our ambitions to become a regional export hub for natural gas: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s escalation of his anti-Israel rhetoric over the past year has been a major driver for Israel to turn away from a US-backed initiative to build an undersea natural gas pipeline between Israel and Turkey, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg. As a result, Israel is increasingly looking to Egypt and other markets to export its gas. Efforts to reach governmental understandings with Turkey continue but the pace of talks has fallen off sharply. Israel is now studying several options, including exporting through Cyprus. Egypt, though, is a better option at this point “because there’s a lot to be done with the existing LNG plants there,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, a director at Leviathan stakeholder Delek Drilling.

That little matter of that arbitration: The piece does note, however, that that path is blocked by a USD 1.76 bn international arbitration award won by Israel Electric against Egyptian state petroleum companies EGPC and EGAS and pipeline operator EMG. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has said there will be no open discussion of gas imports from Israel until the arbitration award is cleared.

In other news on Turkey, the Netherlands decided yesterday to recall its ambassador to Ankara after talks failed to bring an end to the diplomatic rift that began in March last year, “when days before general elections, the Dutch denied entry to Turkish ministers, who wanted to campaign in the Netherlands to expand [Erdogan’s] powers.” Bloomberg and the Financial Times both have the story.

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