Israel became an energy exporter Wednesday, as the first delivery of natural gas from the Leviathan gas field was transferred to Egypt. The gas began flowing after several tests in recent weeks by Noble Energy, which along with its Israeli partners has the franchise for exploring, refining and exporting gas from the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields. Last week, gas from the Leviathan field began to flow to Israeli customers, with the Israel Electric Company the first local customer.
President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declaring, “Today is a day to celebrate in the history of the relations between our two countries. As I write to you, natural gas has begun flowing from the Israeli Leviathan gas field to Egypt, linking our two countries and our two peoples.
“By looking for ways to connect our peoples, we can ensure that the values of peace that our courageous leaders bequeathed us in the historic peace treaty become part of today’s relations between the next generations of Israelis and Egyptians. Bringing the fruits of peace to our peoples would be the greatest tribute to their brave leadership and the best guarantee of a better, safer future for us all.”
Egypt is the first international customer for Leviathan gas. 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.
Israel is also set to export gas to Europe, after Israel, Cyprus and Greece concluded an agreement for the construction of an underground pipeline that will bring Israeli gas to the European continent. The deal will entail construction of what will be the longest gas pipeline in the world
Israelis will benefit from Leviathan gas as well. As a result of the new production, Israelis will pay less for electricity beginning January 1. Rates for home users will fall by 4.13%, and for businesses, factories and public use (street lighting and the like) by 5.3%. Electricity will cost an average of 53 agurot per kilowatt hour, instead of the current 55 agurot.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinetz said that the beginning of exporting gas to Egypt “is a great event for Israel. The cooperation between Israel and Egypt in the energy and gas spheres, worth tens of billions of dollars, is the first of its kind since the signing of a peace treaty between our two countries 40 years ago.”
Updated Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 1:43 pm .