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Israel the Energy Exporter
Israel Set to Export Gas to Egypt

Reuters reports that Egypt and Israel are in the late stages of negotiating a deal that would have Israel export natural gas to Egypt:

The partners in Israel’s offshore Tamar gas field said on Sunday they are negotiating the sale of at least 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas over three years to private customers in Egypt via an old pipeline built to send gas in the other direction.

The supplies would pass through an underwater pipeline constructed nearly a decade ago by East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), the company that oversaw a now-defunct Egyptian-Israeli natural gas deal. […]

Recent offshore discoveries [in Israel] such as Tamar, with an estimated 280 bcm of gas, and Leviathan, which is more than twice as big, have turned previously import-dependent Israel into a potential energy exporter. Egypt has been slow in developing its own sizable gas resources and now faces an energy crisis.

This is a significant role reversal for both countries, as in the past Israel has been dependent upon gas imports and Egypt had been a natural gas exporter to Israel. The Egypt-Israel pipeline through Sinai has been the target of consistent and repeated attacks by militants, and has generated significant political tension in Egypt. The former deal, a bête noire of Islamists who thought Egypt was selling out cheap to Israel, was canceled under the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament in 2012.

Now, however, reversing the flow makes sense given the ongoing fuel shortage in Egypt and the newly discovered Israeli gas fields. The deal would also signal that the government of Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is eager to build ties with what is probably its closest partner in the fight against the Brotherhood.

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