Turkey and Israel have been in talks about the commercial details of building a pipeline to carry Israeli gas to Europe via Turkey, a top Israeli official has said, adding that he is optimistic about the process in which a final agreement may be reached soon.
Shaul Meridor, Director General at the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, said both sides should first agree on commercial details before progress can be made.
“We have already been talking on these details. We will hold many meetings in the next couple of months. I hope these meetings will give robust results in the next couple of months. I am optimistic about carrying Israeli gas via Turkey, as we have taken the whole process very seriously,” he said.
To carry natural gas to Europe, the Israeli government is considering three routes: The Turkish route, the eastern route and the route through LNG terminals in Egypt, Meridor said at an energy conference last week, adding that the Turkish option remains on the table.
He told that he could not give an exact date on clinching a deal, but the Israeli side wants to finalize everything on carrying its gas to Europe as soon as possible.
The Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel has an estimated 620 billion cubic meters of gas, according to previous reports.
Turkish and Israeli companies are currently discussing a possible gas pipeline to be built between Israel and Turkey to transport these gas supplies to Europe, and the both governments have backed the process, Meridor noted.
“Our talks have been going very well. I am sure we will reach a deal, which will be in the interests of Turkey as well,” he said, adding that Turkey would likely take 5-10 bcm of gas from this channel on an annual basis.
Regarding a deal between Israel, Greece, Greek Cyprus and Italy to build the East Mediterranean pipeline project in early April, Meridor said Israel does not see the project as a competitor of those with Turkey and Egypt.
He also said the Israeli side supported Turkey’s gas exploration works in the East Mediterranean off Cyprus.
On Oct. 13, 2016, Israel’s energy minister visited Istanbul to attend the World Energy Congress 2016, marking the first visit by Israel after several years.
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