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Israel eyes gas pipeline to Europe via Cyprus

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During his meeting with President Nikos Christodoulides, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed building a pipeline to transport Israel’s natural gas reserves to an LNG plant that will be constructed in Cyprus and then sent to Europe.

Netanyahu said during last week’s meeting, the two leaders also agreed to continue developing the tripartite alliance with Greece.

He said the “project that we focused on is the supply of Israeli gas to Europe via the pipeline from our gas field to a huge liquefaction facility that will be built in Cyprus.”

“This link will jump the Israeli economy forward to new heights and will strengthen Israel’s standing as an important international energy supplier”.

The Prime Minister said that Europe needs natural gas, and his country intends to provide the European market with good quality natural gas at competitive prices.

He said the new energy collaboration with Cyprus will strengthen Israel’s position in the international market as an energy provider.

Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said he would travel to Israel soon to discuss the project details.

Papanastasiou, who accompanied Christodoulides during his visit to Israel last week, said that deliberations are underway to return to Israel.

He said that Nicosia had submitted the pipeline proposal to Israel.

“The first stage is to sign an agreement facilitating the pipeline construction that would connect the two exclusive economic zones, and we will start from there”.

He said the project entails the transport and liquefaction of Israeli natural gas in Cyprus and export to Europe via ships.

“There is high demand for liquified natural gas (LNG), and Europe is the continent that suffers the most”.

Papanastasiou said that following the political decision and the expression of interest by private companies, “it would take two and a half years for liquefaction while the pipeline could be constructed in 18 months.”

Aphrodite

Partners in the Aphrodite natural gas field, including Israel’s NewMed Energy, have started drilling an appraisal well offshore Cyprus.

Israel’s NewMed Energy, formerly Delek Drilling (part of Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group), which owns a 30% stake in Aphrodite, said drilling the appraisal well is expected to take about three months.

Other partners in the Aphrodite gas field, which holds an estimated 124 billion cubic meters of gas, are US energy giants Chevron and Shell, each owning a 35% share.

Discovered in 2011, the Aphrodite natural gas field is located about 170 kilometres south of Limassol in Cyprus and 30 kilometres northwest of Israel’s Leviathan gas reservoir, one of the world’s largest deep-water gas discoveries.

Earlier this year, partners in the Leviathan field — NewMed Energy, Chevron and Ratio Oil Corp — announced plans to boost annual gas production and exports in 2025 to meet growing demand.

Currently, a maximum capacity of up to 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, or 12 billion cubic meters per year, is piped up from the Leviathan reservoir for the supply and sale of gas to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.

The partners are seeking to supply natural gas from the Aphrodite field to the domestic market in Cyprus and to export natural gas by pipeline to other markets, including the Egyptian market and the global LNG market.

The supply of natural gas from the Aphrodite reservoir is expected in 2027 at the earliest, according to NewMed Energy.