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Tuesday, 7 June 2022

More Israeli natural gas in the pipeline

Egypt could soon be receiving more gas as Israel prepares to start production at disputed field: Israel could increase gas exports to Egypt and Jordan in the coming months as it moves to start production at the disputed Karish gas field in the eastern Mediterranean. Karish owner Energean said yesterday that it had moved a floating production, storage and offloading ship to the area, a move which Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said would position the country as a “natural gas power” and allow it to increase exports to Egypt.

The gas will start flowing within four months: Energean said that gas will start flowing by the end of 3Q after the ship has been installed and the pipeline tested. This will make Karish Israel’s third gas field, joining Tamar and Leviathan, which both export gas to Egypt.

Lebanon isn’t happy: Lebanon yesterday issued a warning to Israel against drilling at the field, part of which Beirut claims is within its maritime territory. President Michel Aoun said that the ship had crossed into disputed territory and any activity would be interpreted as a “hostile act.” Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he would invite a US mediator to Beirut to talk about “completing negotiations” that began in 2020 over the territory to prevent any “escalation,” adding that Lebanon is seeking to marshal UN support for its stance, Reuters reports.

Israel denies that the ship is operating in disputed territory, with Harrar saying that the move “unequivocally” does not encroach on Lebanese waters and dismissing the likelihood of the dispute escalating.

Israel + Egypt are looking sell into Europe’s energy crisis: The two countries are expected to sign an agreement with the EU later this month to increase gas exports across the Mediterranean as the bloc looks for new suppliers to replace Russia. The EU has pledged to ban most imports of Russian oil by the end of the year and says it will fully phase out use of Russian gas by the end of the decade. Russia currently provides some 40% of the EU’s annual gas consumption.

We need more capacity: Egypt is looking to build new LNG terminals and pipelines to up export volumes to Europe. We should break ground on a gas pipeline to Cyprus this year and we’ve held talks with Greece about laying pipelines between the two countries. We have only two liquefaction plants and there are currently no pipelines linking us to Europe. In a plan released earlier this month, the EU said it will invest EUR 12 bn in pipelines and LNG facilities to increase gas supplies from other producers such as Egypt and Israel.

Refresher: Israel currently ships gas to Egypt via the Eastern Mediterranean Gas pipeline that runs between Ashkelon and Arish, which has an approximate annual capacity of 7 bcm. It recently began exporting gas to Egypt via the Arab Gas Pipeline for the first time, with exports targeted at 2.5-3 bcm this year, potentially increasing to 4 bcm in the future.

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