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EU to buy natural gas from Israel via Egypt

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, June 16th 2022 à 15:15 | Read 394 times

Faced with the new geopolitical reality, the European Union is signing a tripartite agreement with Israel and Egypt to increase supplies of Israeli natural gas from Egypt after liquefaction on site.

Israeli natural gas will pass through Egyptian liquefaction plants before being shipped to the EU (photo: DR)
Israeli natural gas will pass through Egyptian liquefaction plants before being shipped to the EU (photo: DR)
ISRAEL / EGYPT / EU. In a speech given during her visit to Jerusalem on Tuesday 15 June 2022, Ursula von der Leyen said she "wished to strengthen energy cooperation with Israel". The European Commission President stressed, addressing Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, "with the outbreak of this war and Russia's attempt to use energy as leverage against us, by deliberately disrupting energy supplies, we have decided to end our dependence on Russian fossil fuels and move away from Russia with additional trustworthy suppliers."

It is now official. The European Union signed a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding with Israel and Egypt to promote the export of natural gas to the EU on Wednesday 15 June 2022 in Cairo on the sidelines of a meeting of the Middle East Gas Forum.

Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU has been looking for ways to reduce its energy dependence on Russia, its largest and most important energy customer, and therefore intends to diversify its supplies.


Egypt could become a regional energy hub

The agreement initialled on the sidelines of the regional energy conference provides for Israel and Egypt to increase natural gas exports to the EU. Israeli natural gas will be shipped by pipeline to Egyptian liquefaction plants. Then, once transformed into LNG (liquefied natural gas), it will be transported to the European market.

"This step will allow us to increase energy deliveries to Europe. So you will send, through a pipeline - perhaps one day a pipeline adapted to hydrogen - Israeli gas to Egypt, where it will be transformed into LNG and then transported to the European Union," said Ursula Von der Leyen. The President of the European Commission "believes that this is a very important project. However, we know that, in time, we will have to consider the use of infrastructure dedicated to renewable energies. This is the energy of the future". For her, "this is a big step forward in Europe's energy supply, but also for Egypt to become a regional energy hub."

In 2021, Egypt achieved a record LNG export with five million tonnes delivered. "In recent years, Israel has gone from being a gas importer to a gas exporter. We are now working to produce more natural gas," commented the Israeli Prime Minister.

Moving towards more reliable suppliers

The EU will also encourage European companies to participate in Israeli and Egyptian exploration tenders. The framework agreement will be the first to allow "significant" exports of Israeli gas to Europe, according to the Israeli energy minister. Naftali Bennett, called it a "very solid, positive trajectory in Israel's relations with the EU."

"We are starting to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the EU-Egypt relationship, putting the transition to clean energy and the fight against climate change at the heart of our partnership," Ursula von der Leyen said in Cairo. "Egypt is also a key partner in our efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels and towards more reliable suppliers," she continued.

According to a European Commission press release published on Wednesday 15 June 2022, the EU and Egypt will "establish a Mediterranean Hydrogen Partnership to promote investments in renewable electricity generation, the reinforcement and extension of electricity networks, including trans-Mediterranean interconnections, the production of renewable energy and low-carbon hydrogen, as well as the construction of storage, transmission and distribution infrastructures". The hydrogen partnership will be signed at COP27, which will take place from 7 to 8 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh. "Egypt has the potential to become a leader in the production and export of renewable energies", said Ursula von der Leyen in front of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.


Suez Canal Economic Zone focuses on green hydrogen

The Suez Canal Economic Zone has been signing a number of agreements with industrialists in recent months to become a showcase for green energy. At the end of April 2022, it signed a commitment with the Emirati company Masdar to set up a green hydrogen production plant.

According to a Eurobarometer survey of 26,578 citizens in the 27 Member States, published on Wednesday 15 June 2022, 87% of respondents said that the EU should reduce its dependence on Russian energy sources as soon as possible. And 80% think it is important for our overall security to reduce oil and gas imports and invest in renewable energy.

Read also: Egypt, Greece and Cyprus sign electricity transfer agreement

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