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יום שישי 09.12.2022
Egypt persuades Israel to extract Gaza’s natural gas
11/10/2022 12:05

Al-Monitor obtained information from Palestinian and Egyptian officials about the success of Egyptian mediation in pushing Israel to allow the start of extracting natural gas off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

 GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Egypt succeeded in persuading Israel to start extracting natural gas off the coast of the Gaza Strip, after several months of secret bilateral talks, according to information provided to Al-Monitor by an official in the Egyptian intelligence service and a member of the PLO Executive Committee.

This development coincides with the rising global energy prices caused by Russia's war on Ukraine, while European nations seek alternatives to Russian gas ahead of the winter season.
 It also comes after years of Israeli objections to extract natural gas off the coast of Gaza on security grounds, preventing the Palestinians from benefiting from their own natural resources, namely in the Gaza Marine field.
The field, which lies about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of the Gaza coast, was discovered in 2000 by British Gas (currently BG Group) and is estimated to contain more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The cost of development of the field is estimated at about $1.2 billion. But the field remains untapped as the Palestine Investment Fund, which is the Palestinian body responsible for developing the field, has not been able to extract its gas all those years due to Israel’s refusal.
The official in the Egyptian intelligence service told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “An Egyptian economic and security delegation discussed with the Israeli side for several months the issue of allowing the extraction of natural gas off the coast of Gaza. The delegation finally succeeded in reaching a compromise that would benefit all relevant parties, the most important of which are Israel and the Palestinian Authority [PA].”
On Feb. 21, 2021, the PA and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of the Gaza Marine gas field. Under the agreement, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company and the PA would cooperate to develop the gas field, transfer gas to the Palestinian areas and possibly sell it to Egypt.
 
Al-Monitor | Rasha Abou Jalal | 6/10/22

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