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Israel Envisions "Long" Undersea Natural Gas Pipeline To Europe

Isreal Envisions "Long" Undersea Natural Gas Pipeline To Europe (Shutterstock / esfera)

Israel's Leviathan Gas Reservoir could have profound geopolitical as well as geoeconomic implications for the country, which has been ostracized by its neighbors since its inception in 1948.

With over 900 billion cu meters of natural gas off of Israel's coast and some indications pointing to another 2,200 bcm waiting to be tapped, Israel can help Europe diversify its sources of gas, earn significant hard currency, strengthen regional economic cooperation and ultimately its own political relations by bringing the eastern Mediterranean gas to Greece and the rest of Europe, either by underwater pipeline or as LNG via tanker.

A feasibility study on the 1,300 km offshore pipeline designed to transport up to 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year is due to be presented next month, Greek officials said. "What transpired as a very significant issue in these talks is the ability of Greece to become a gateway of natural gas of the eastern Mediterranean to Europe," said Panos Skourletis, Greece's energy minister.

Already Israel has agreed to begin exporting its gas to neighboring Jordan and for the first time in its history Israel will be an energy exporter. The initial field development will involve a subsea connection to a shallow-water platform with a pipeline leading to Jordan. Leviathan’s stakeholders said they aim to complete construction, and begin delivering gas to Jordan, in as little as three years.

The Leviathan basin partners will be supplying Jordan's National Electric Power Company Ltd. (NEPCO) with a gross quantity of 45 billion cubic meters of gas, or 8.5 million cubic meters daily, over a 15-year period. Houston-based Noble Energy – which holds the largest share in the 621-BCM reservoir – announced the execution of the gas sales and purchase agreement on Monday afternoon.

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