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Israel hopes to step in as Europe looks for alternatives to Russian energy

The European Union aims to remove its dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal by 2027.

Israel's Leviathan gas processing rig as seen from the Dor Habonim Beach Nature Reserve, Jan. 1, 2020. Credit: Flash90.
Israel's Leviathan gas processing rig as seen from the Dor Habonim Beach Nature Reserve, Jan. 1, 2020. Credit: Flash90.

Europe is looking to end its dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal by 2027, according to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Among the options for alternative energy sources is Israel, which could supply natural gas to Europe via pipelines through Greece or Turkey, as well as Egypt, according to an AFP report.

Former Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz said the Jewish state “could definitely be a serious factor in creating more independence and a wealth of energy sources for Europe,” according to the report. Israel could even export via Greece, Turkey and Egypt at the same time, he added, because “we have enough gas to export through the three channels.”

According to Orit Ganor, director of natural gas international trade at the Energy Ministry, the option of building a pipeline to Turkey was evaluated in 2016, but the project stalled, “mainly due to economic reasons.”

The EastMed pipeline, which would supply Israeli natural gas to Europe via Greece and Cyprus, “is still an option,” said Ganor, adding that Poseidon, the company in charge of the project, was in the final stages of geophysical and geotechnical surveys of the pipe’s route.

He said there was also agreement with Cairo on a seabed pipeline from Leviathan to Egypt’s liquefaction plants that would allow for greater exports to Europe, according to the report.

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