By Menan Khater,13.04.2018
The landscape of East Mediterranean natural gas collaboration took an unprecedented turn in February 2018 after Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings, US-based Noble Energy Inc., and Israel-based Delek Drilling-LP announced a $15 billion gas deal. The deal, which allows Dolphinus to import 64 billion cubic meters of gas over a decade from Noble and Delek, is not only a milestone in the Egypt-Israel bilateral relations, but also a stepping-stone for the region’s natural gas production.
The Eastern Mediterranean is the site of a huge reservoir of natural gas upwards of 1.89 trillion cubic meters of gas; consisting of Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan fields, Cyprus’ Aphrodite, and Egypt’s recent discovery of Zohr. The deal was not an afterthought and it will prove mutually beneficial for all countries involved. The extra revenues will help the Israeli consortium develop the Leviathan field, and Egypt’s position will be enhanced as a regional hub for natural gas exports.
However, some aspects of the deal need to be investigated more closely, as what route would be the best for transferring the gas between the two countries and how much it would cost, as well as the associated security concerns. Moreover, it remains unclear whether Egypt will use some of this gas for domestic use or not, and whether it will help drop a $1.76 billion fine against Egypt in international arbitration by East Mediterranean Gas (EMG).