Italian minister wants to import Israeli gas

Energy Minister Silvan Shalom: Israeli natural gas exports to Italy are a common interest of both countries.

"Israeli natural gas exports to Italy are a common interest of both countries," Minister of National Infrastructures Silvan Shalom told Italian Minister of Economic Development Flavio Zanonato at the government-to-government meeting in Rome today.

Shalom and Zanonato discussed the Egyptian liquefied natural gas (LNG) option at the ENI SpA (BIT: ENI; NYSE: E) plant at Idku. Shalom outlined a proposal along these lines, and Zanonato said that he would promote it because it was the fastest and most economical way for all the parties, countries, and LNG companies. They also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the Turkish, Greek, and Cypriot options.

By selling natural gas to LNG plants in Egypt, Israel could export gas to Europe, the buyer of Egyptian LNG. Egypt's two LNG plants are only partly operational because the development of the country's natural gas fields lags the rise in domestic consumption. As a result, the plants are losing billions of dollars. BG Group plc (LSE; NYSE: BG) operates the Damietta plant, and ENI and its Spanish partner operate the Idku plant.

During the meeting Mekorot National Water Company and Italian water utility Acea SpA (BIT: ACEA) signed a collaboration agreement. Shalom said that Israeli water technology was replacing the Jaffa Orange brand of the 1950s and 1960s, and that there was almost no country in the world, including countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel, that do not use Israeli water technology.

Shalom and Zanonato also discussed compressed natural gas (CNG) for use in public transport, following a meeting on the subject two months ago. Shalom, who encouraged the reciprocal delegations of experts to the two countries, signed a directive and a standard allowing the use and installation of CNG, told Zanonato that he welcomed the entry of Fiat SpA (BIT: F) and Iveco SpA into the Israeli market with CNG-powered cars and buses.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 2, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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