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India's First International News Journal

Tuesday, June, 28, 2022

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Israel achieves a “long-awaited goal” with the export of gas to Europe

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With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel’s burgeoning natural gas sector has set its sights on energy-hungry Europe, but it has also been used by Israel to achieve its long-awaited goal of integrating the region with its once hostile Arab neighbors, says the Washington Post.

On Wednesday, Israel agreed to pump billions of dollars worth of gas to Europe through Egyptian liquefaction facilities on the Mediterranean coast, where it is being re-exported as liquefied gas, after Russia stopped gas supplies and the continent rushed to refill its dwindling stocks.

The European Union imported 155 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia last year, or 40 percent of its consumption.

Also: No one can replace Russian gas supplies to Europe

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From Jerusalem, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the memorandum of understanding, which was signed by the Israeli and Egyptian energy ministers and representatives of the European Commission in Cairo, as “historic,” aimed at getting Europe out of the “blackmail” practiced by Russia in the field of energy.

As for Israel, which needed to counter the occasional sabotage attempt against undersea gas export pipelines, the Washington Post says, it is also a sign that times have changed.

“This general technical cooperation to help Europe, to which we are the closest countries in the region, is very important,” said Yitzhak Levanon, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt from 2009 to 2011.

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Lebanon held its position before Israel produced its own natural gas, instead of importing it from Egypt, using the same pipelines it now uses for export.

Also: How does the Arab world view the Ukraine war?

In all, the newspaper says that Europe’s consumption of eastern Mediterranean gas will reduce the supply of the offshore spot compared to Russian supplies, but it will be part of a comprehensive strategy, imported from sources around the world, to fill the energy deficit left by Russia.

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For many in Israel, last week’s deal was “a significant milestone in the years-long attempt to use gas to thaw icy relations with its neighbors,” according to the Washington Post.

With skyrocketing energy prices and gradually fading public opposition to Israel in parts of the Arab world, many Israelis hope the gas export deal will bring something more valuable than profit, says Moshe Albo of the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya (central Israel). More normalization of Israel in the region.

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Egypt exported 8.9 billion cubic meters of LNG last year and 4.7 billion cubic meters in the first five months of this year, according to the Refinitiv Eikon data platform, although most of it goes to Asia.

Also: Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Warns of Russia-Ukraine War Becoming a Global Conflict

Reuters also quoted sources from the gas sector that Israel is on its way to doubling its gas production, in the next few years, to reach about 40 billion cubic meters annually, by expanding projects and starting new fields.

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