Jordan signs massive gas deal with Israel

The Swearing in of the new Jordanian government comes just two days after the Hashemite Kingdom signed a 10-billion-dollar deal with Israel, in which the Jewish state will supply some 1.6 trillion feet of gas to Jordan’s National Electric Power Company. The deal marks a significant step forward in Israel’s efforts to exploit its offshore gas reserves, although it is still looking for a partnership with Egypt or Turkey, or both, which would give it far more export volume and the possibility of linking up with markets in Europe.

“Israel will become an important player in the energy market and this will enable us also to discover and develop additional gas fields that are waiting to be explored in the Israeli economic waters,” said Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Energy Minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often played up Israel’s potential as an economic partner with Sunni Arab countries in the region. In that respect, the gas deal with Jordan represents a significant breakthrough. While Israel and Jordan signed a peace deal in 1994, relations are not always good, but as economic ties deepen, Israel hopes they will become firmer.

“This is a very important deal. It pushes the Israeli energy market forward, it strengthens our relations with Jordan and obviously specifically for this purpose we supported the natural gas plan (referring to plan to develop huge offshore natural gas deposits). We extract gas from the ground and the country reaps the great geopolitical, economic and social fruits that gas can bring,” said Netanyahu.