Israel may struggle to deliver gas to Egypt in contracted volume
Israel may struggle to deliver gas to Egypt in contracted volume. Israel’s domestic pipeline network reportedly does not have the capacity to carry all the natural gas the Tamar and Leviathan partners have contracted to sell to Egypt, according to a report by israel’s TheMarker, picked up by Haaretz. Neither the Tamar nor Leviathan fields have been connected to the domestic network. The report comes after Tamar and Leviathan partners Delek Group and Noble Energy bought in September a 39% stake in the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) pipeline with Egyptian partner East Gas. The parties aim to sell Tamar and Leviathan gas to Egypt through EMG.
INGL capacity problems: In the meantime, deliveries of gas to Egypt must use the pipeline belonging to national gas network operator Israel Natural Gas Lines (INGL), which is currently capable of carrying between 2-3 bcm of gas annually, sources close to the matter said. Noble and Delek, however, have committed to selling around 7 bcm of gas annually from both fields as early as next year to Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings in an agreement signed in February. So far, the INGL pipeline has enough capacity to move gas from the Tamar field and will begin deliveries to Dolphinus in 1H2019. However, it will have to stop exports once Leviathan comes online, unless a solution to the capacity problem is found.
Delek and Noble say not to worry, they’re working on it and they have “no doubt that the Dolphinus agreements will be fully implemented and that gas will be delivered to Egypt as it is supposed to.”
Options on the table: One option suggested by Haaretz is to send some gas through another length of the INGL network to the Pan-Arab pipeline, which connects to EMG. Other options include widening the existing INGL pipeline, build a second parallel pipeline, or build an undersea pipeline.
Is it possible that we will rely on Israeli gas by 2030? While gas discoveries including Zohr have paved the way for Egypt to both meet its domestic needs and turn into a regional export hub, some analysts suggest Egypt could become reliant on gas from Israel by 2030. Production from the existing Egyptian fields could fall off sharply starting in 2020, according to an assessment of Egypt’s gas reserves and infrastructure conducted by McKinsey & Co and picked up by Israeli newspaper Globe. The company found that gas from Zohr will compensate for declining production in maturing in the early years, but afterwards, this will also be insufficient. “In 2030, total production from Egyptian fields will fall below 50 bcm a year, compared with more than 60 bcm at present,” making shortages a very real possibility for Egypt.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Energy Ministry announced on Sunday that it will tender off 19 new offshore blocks to oil and gas companies, according to Reuters. It will publish details of the tender by the end of the month and select the winning companies in six month’s time, said Udi Adiri, the ministry’s director general. This is Israel’s second attempt to open the blocks up after a tender last year failed to stoke the appetite of international oil and gas companies. Some analysts are seeing that the gas export agreement with Egypt may help make this second tender attractive.