Egypt, Israel, and the European Union on Wednesday signed a deal to increase liquified natural gas sales to EU countries, who aim to reduce dependence on supply from Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.
The deal, stamped in a five-star Cairo hotel, will see Israel sending more gas via Egypt, which has facilities to liquify it for export via sea, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said.
“What a special moment”, von der Leyen said in a joint news conference alongside Egyptian and Israel energy ministers. “I very warmly welcome the signing of this historic agreement”.
The Israeli gas will be brought via a pipeline to Egypt’s LNG terminal on the Mediterranean before being transported on tankers to the European shores.
Israel has two operational gas fields off its Mediterranean coast containing an estimated 690 billion cubic meters of natural gas combined, and a third offshore rig is in the works. It has already signed gas export agreements with neighboring Egypt and Jordan.
Egypt’s extensive natural gas facilities on the Mediterranean have stood largely inactive since the country’s 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
In recent years, the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi rehabilitated and modernized the facilities. In 2018, Egypt signed a $15 billion deal with Israeli company Delek Drilling and its US partner, Noble Energy to transport natural gas there. Egypt aims to create a regional energy hub.