Netanyahu Heads to Greece to Discuss Trilateral Pipeline Deal

israel gas
View of the Leviathan field gas-processing rig off the northern coast of Israel. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday departed for Athens, where he is to meet with Cypriot and Greek officials on a deal to transport natural gas to Europe via the two countries. “We are on our way to a very important meeting with the president of Greece and the prime minister of Cyprus,” Netanyahu said, departing Israel at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday morning. “We have developed a treaty and working relationship that will ensure the energy future of Israel, turning it into an energy power that will ensure stability in the region.”

The deal will entail the construction of an underwater pipeline, called the Med-East pipeline, which will be the longest gas pipeline in the world, transferring gas from the Leviathan field off Israel’s coast to the European mainland. The three will discuss the rights and obligations of each government in the trilateral deal.

The first two gas feeds from the Leviathan field were turned on Tuesday morning, with another two set to be opened over the weekend. The first customer for Leviathan gas is Egypt, which expects to get its first shipment next week. Egypt is the first international customer for natural gas from Israel, which will include gas from the Leviathan gas field, which is scheduled to enter production next month.

Under the deal, Israel will export a total of 60 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas from Leviathan over the next 15 years, and 25 BCM from the Tamar field over that period as well. Between 2020 and 2034, some 26 billion BCM of that gas will go to Egypt, based on the arrangement between the Israeli licensees of the fields and the Egyptian company authorized to purchase the gas. Gas is also set to be exported to Jordan.

As a result of Leviathan gas production, Israelis will pay less for electricity beginning January 1st. Rates for home users will fall by 4.13%, and for businesses, factories and public use (street lighting, etc.) by 5.3%. Electricity will cost an average of 53 agurot per kilowatt hour, instead of the current 55 agurot.