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Can Gas Repair What Pols Can't Between Turkey and Israel?

Turkey and Israel have drifted apart in recent years for all sorts of reasons, a trend only exacerbated by the ugly anti-Semitic statements made by the Turkish deputy prime minister and state-affiliated media over the summer. These tensions have been an impediment to the development of a pipeline that would carry Israel’s new bounty of offshore gas north.

But as the WSJ reports, the appeal of such a deal could jump-start a détente:

[E]xecutives from Turkish and Israeli energy firms say their deals can allow corporations to surmount the obstacles politicians can’t overcome. If they succeed, Turkey may see a fifth of its annual natural gas consumption, of about 50 billion cubic feet, coming to its shores with a pipeline from Israel, and crossing Cyprus’s economic zone, in a mere four years.

“This project is feasible both commercially and politically. Currently, we’re in talks with significant energy, private-sector players in Turkey,” Israel-based Delek Drilling’s Chairman Gideon Tadmor said Thursday at an energy summit in Istanbul. “There’s no reason why piped Israeli gas can’t penetrate the Turkish market by as early as 2017. In order to do that, we need to accelerate negotiations, accelerate the development process, and get, obviously, the support of both governments.”

Turkey would get a steady supply of overland natural gas, which generally trades cheaper than its liquified form. And Israel’s options for exporting gas are limited, with a pipeline through Turkey looking like the most sensible and cost-effective option. Good relations and more cooperation between the two regional powers would be good for the Middle East. Perhaps energy and commerce will succeed in making this a reality.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    As I said once before, this isn’t going to happen. Israel has terrorist problem, and pipelines are super soft targets, which almost blow themselves up. In addition, as we can see from pipelines flowing through other nations territory, the pipelines get held hostage every time relations sour, like the Ukraine-Russia pipeline situation. Israel is going to go with LNG, as it is much more secure and flexible, as the gas can be sold at any port with LNG facilities. The profit will be less, but a cut pipeline or a shut valve, means your hugely expensive pipeline isn’t even paying the interest on the debt which built it.

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