What’s Happening Behind the Scenes?

As the war in Ukraine continues, Europe is engaging in behind the scenes discussions with Turkey and Israel concerning an ambitious pipeline deal that will provide gas to Europe via Turkey as an alternative to Russian gas supplies. Russia presently supplies circa 40% of Europe’s total gas requirements (155 Billion cubic meters) and so with the tightening of sanctions on Russia and its main global business interests gas is a glaringly obvious resource to target, but Europe still needs gas for energy.

The discussion is based on the idea that a sub-sea pipeline will be constructed running from Turkey to Leviathan, Israel’s largest natural gas field. Gas will be transported firstly to Turkey and from there on to Southern Europe. Allowing European nations to move away from their reliance on Russia.

Adding weight to the project the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has insisted on the importance of this project, not just as a commercial venture but as a means of promoting bilateral ties between the two nations. Whilst addressing the media he said he was fully prepared to support the project by sending his Top Energy Ministers to Tel Aviv to revive the presently dormant project.

Isaac Herzog, Israeli President during a recent visit to Ankara encouraged the continuation of talks giving hope to others that the project is an area the two nations can work together on.

The Leviathan field presently produces 12 Billion cubic meters of gas annually, supplying Egypt, Jordan and Israel. The field is owned and run by NewMed Energy (owned by Chevron) and Ratio Oil an Israeli company and the two firms have agreed to increase production by a further 21 Billion cubic meters annually. But it’s still worth mentioning that the geopolitical situation which is best described as ‘fragile’ could still put a stop to proceedings.

According to NewMed a large part of the new gas supply will be liquefied and will be shipped to the Far East and Europe. Earlier this year NewMed’s CEO said that Turkey would be a potential destination but that the Turkish must participate in building the pipeline. As a further word of caution, Karine Elharrar, Israeli Energy Minister said many things were still not agreed including the financial arrangements.

Source; Reuters & Ynet

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