Israel will begin natural gas exports within four months, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced to the Reuters news agency.
The fuel is destined for domestic consumption, along with delivery to Jordan and Europe through Egypt. Steinitz described Israel’s arrangement with Egypt as “just the start of this wonderful cooperation,” that is “a win-win situation” for both nations.
The flow will secure the beginning of a landmark $15 billion export agreement between Delek Drilling and partner Noble Energy with an Egyptian counterpart in what Israeli officials called the most significant deal to emerge since the neighbors made peace in 1979.
The deal signed early last year will bring natural gas from Israel’s offshore underwater Tamar and Leviathan reserves into the Egyptian gas grid.
Cairo hopes to leverage its strategic location and well-developed infrastructure to become a key international trading and distribution hub for gas, a potentially remarkable turnaround for a country that spent about $3 billion on annual liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports as recently as 2016.
After hailing the recent 40th anniversary of the Israel-Egypt Treaty, Steinitz noted “this is the first time there is such significant economic energy cooperation between Egypt and Israel.”