The development of gas fields on the Mediterranean shelf of Israel could give a new impetus to energy development in the region and reduce the dependence of EU from gas supplies from Russia, said in an interview with Bloomberg, the head of the U.S. Department of energy Ernest Monis.
According to the Minister, the development of deposits are great benefits from a purely economic point of view, but the Israeli gas “can be used in a strategic sense”.
Monis noted that in Israel the produced gas can not only be delivered to the neighboring Jordan and Egypt, but also to go to Turkey, from where by running from the Caspian region pipelines can be pumped to Europe. In this regard, the Minister expressed hope for a speedy revision of the recent decision of Israel’s Supreme court, imposed a veto on the agreement of the government with the American Noble Energy and several other energy companies on the development and export of offshore gas reserves.
“The U.S. is seriously interested in resolving the issue, because energy security is our common cause,” said Monis.
At the end of March 2016 the Israeli Supreme court recognized the deal with Noble Energy and its partners unconstitutional because of the clause, according to which the company will pay fixed taxes for ten years and has suspended the implementation of the agreement for one year. During this time, the government should make the necessary changes.
“The decision of [the Supreme court] jeopardizes the development of the gas reserves of Israel,” — commented on the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, noting that the authorities will look for ways to overcome the economic damage from this decision.
Shares of Noble Energy after the announcement of the decision of the Supreme court of Israel has fallen in price by 8.2%,
Large gas deposits on the Mediterranean shelf of Israel were opened in 2009-2010. Stocks on the two largest of them (“Leviathan” and “Tamar”) are estimated at about 800 billion cubic meters, so the fields must satisfy the domestic demand and turn Israel into a major gas exporter. The EU representatives have repeatedly stated about the possibility of bringing gas supplies from Israel for the diversification of imports from Russia, however, the difficulty lies in the lack of effective ways of export. Israel’s relations with Turkey remain tense, and because now Israel plans to export its gas to Jordan and Egypt, where it liquefied form can be redirected to Europe.
Nevertheless, in late 2015, the media reported about negotiations between Turkey and Israel on gas supplies. According to Haberturk, it is about the construction of the pipeline along the bottom of the Mediterranean sea, according to which by 2019, Israel will supply up to 30 billion cubic meters annually, of which 10 billion will remain in Turkey, and 20 billion for transit will go to Europe.
In November 2014, the energy Minister of Israel Silvan Shalom at a meeting with his colleagues from the Mediterranean countries invited EU authorities to invest in the construction of a pipeline linking the coast of Israel with Cyprus and then Greece and Italy. In early 2016, following a meeting of Netanyahu with President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades and the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras had declared that the authorities of the three countries are considering the construction of a new pipeline.