In the Middle East, the potential to use gas pipelines to link nations and thereby promote strong bonds and stable relationships, is stronger than ever. The Israeli-Egyptian joint venture called East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) is perhaps the paramount example.
EMG plans to build a sub-sea pipeline running nearly 800 kilometers under the east Mediterranean Sea, all the way to the energy port of Ceyhan in southern Turkey, Pipeline news reported.
The European Investment Bank announced that it plans to take a leading role in financing the natural gas line to be constructed from Egypt to Israel and Turkey, Ha’aretz reported. The cost of constructing the pipeline to Haifa is estimated to be between $200 million to $250 million.
The Israeli-American gas exploration firm Yam Thetis, British Gas and EMG have been negotiating for the past several months with the Israel Electric Corporation to provide 2.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the electric company and another 1.5 billion cubic meters to industry.
Israel Electric Corporation initially estimated that the demand for the years 2000 to 2006 would increase by an average of 4.75 percent per year. Its new forecast predicts an annual increase in demand of 5.75 percent per year.
Negotiations over the pipeline that would supply natural gas to Israel began in May, 2000. Egyptian Ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Bassiouny, said his government would provide all the necessary support to guarantee the success of the joint venture.
The pipeline’s capacity will be 15 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The first phase of the pipeline, to the northern Israeli port of Haifa, would take 18 months to complete. The second stage of the pipeline would continue to Turkey.
EMG said it could supply enough natural gas to meet Israel's needs in the coming decades. It said Israel was forecast to need four billion cubic meters annually in the next several years, of which 2.5 billion would be for state-owned Israel Electric.
Israeli companies drilling for natural gas have said they believe domestic reserves are sufficient to supply all of Israel's needs for at least 15 years.
EMG is owned in part by Yosef Maiman's firm Merhav, in part by Egyptian businessman Hussein Salam, with Egyptian gas & petroleum corporation (EGPC) and foreign oil companies controlling the rest of the firm. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )