Israel, Turkey get down to details on gas pipeline

Yuval Steinitz

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says there are talks on exporting gas to Egypt as well.

Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz said this morning that professional teams from Israel and Turkey has begun discussions on the laying of a gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey, and that there were talks with Egypt on the export of gas from Israel to that country. Sources inform "Globes" that Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources director general Shaul Meridor together with professionals from the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs met the Turkish deputy energy minister and Turkish officials last week to discuss the technical details of laying the pipeline.

Steinitz and his Turkish opposite number Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak held talks a month ago on a framework agreement between the two countries calling for a pipeline to be laid by April 2017, but it is believed that the completion date of the agreement is likely to be deferred.

In a speech at a conference on transport, infrastructure an real estate held by the M. Firon & Co. law firm and Ernst & Young Israel in Ramat Gan today, Steinitz said that Israel's natural gas industry would progress on four planes. The first, he said, was the start of development of the Leviathan reservoir, involving detailed planning, tenders for suppliers, and approval by the National Planning and Building Council of the plan for development of the fields and for constructing platforms for treating the gas at sea.

Steinitz said that alongside the talks with Turkey and Egypt, Israel had reached agreement in principle with Greece, Cyprus and Italy, with the backing of the EU Directorate-General for Energy, on laying a gas pipeline from Leviathan via Cyprus, Crete and southern Greece to Europe. Despite apparently positive initial results of a feasibility study for the pipeline, there is broad agreement among experts and evidently in the government too that such a pipeline will not be constructed unless further significant quantities of gas are found.

A second area in which there has been progress, Steinitz said, is in dealing with the bureaucratic difficulties over laying a gas distribution network for factories. "This year we have already hooked up ten factories, and next year we will hook up 100."

In this connection it should be pointed out that bureaucracy is not the only reason for the delay in hooking up factories to the gas network. The low oil price makes it doubtful whether it is economically worthwhile. The State Comptroller points out in his latest report on the matter that many factories have so far chosen to forego the incentives offered them, and the new incentives program, worth NIS 360 million, does not guarantee success.

A third area mentioned by Steinitz is the introduction of the use of gas for transport by converting trucks and buses to CNG (compressed natural gas) and constructing fueling stations.

"And, saving the best till last, no less important for us is that tomorrow is a gala day, as we are moving forward with the significant measure of opening up the sea for further gas exploration. Tomorrow we shall release the geological findings and also the conditions for receiving exploration franchises," Steinitz concluded.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 14, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
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