Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The EU signed a new three-year energy agreement with Egypt and Israel as Brussels remains determined to seek alternatives for its energy dependence on Russia.
Recent discoveries in the Mediterranean have made the region a potential source of new imports.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday in Cairo by Israel’s Energy Minister, Karine Elharrar, along with Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla, and the EU’s Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson.
The EU also signed a trilateral MoU for the export of natural gas to Europe from Israel and other sources in the Eastern Mediterranean region which will be liquefied in Egypt before being sent to the EU.
“Today Egypt and Israel make a commitment to share our natural gas with Europe and to help with the energy crisis,” said Elharrar.
The agreement follows deals simitars to those between the EU and the US and the EU and Qatar.
“This is a big step forward in the energy supply to Europe, but also for Egypt to become a regional energy hub. It is for us also very important to look forward into the new forms of energies. And these are, of course, the renewable energies,” said Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen.
el-Molla said the deal was a “milestone” and could be an opportunity to further increase cooperation between other Mediterranean countries. The European Commission said it now expects to import 7bcm of LNG from Egypt in 2022, up from an originally expected 5bcm.
“I look forward to working with Egypt as COP27 Presidency to build on the good momentum from last year in Glasgow. Egypt is also a crucial partner in our efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels and towards more reliable suppliers,” added von der Leyen.
Despite the celebration of a new forged deal, analysts cautioned that the ability of either Egypt or Israel to ship large additional volumes to the EU in the short term was limited, and that the deal in Cairo would not be enough to fill the gap left by Russian deliveries, which accounted for about 40% of the bloc’s gas imports in 2021.
“The agreement does not lay out any specific timeline for the ramp-up in LNG flows from Egypt or for the construction of a new pipeline to ship extra volumes of Israeli gas to Egypt,” said Leo Kabouche, LNG market analyst at Energy Aspects in London to the Financial Times.