The European Union plans to buy gas from Israel and Egypt instead of Russian

The European Union plans to buy gas from Israel and Egypt instead of Russian

The European Commission has offered EU member states a deal with Egypt and Israel to boost natural gas imports from the eastern Mediterranean, according to a June 7 draft document seen by Reuters.

EU plans to buy gas from Israel and Egypt instead of Russia

The draft memorandum of understanding, which is still subject to change and requires the approval of the participating governments, is part of the European Union's efforts to reduce imports of fossil fuels from Russia after the start of a large-scale war in Ukraine.

“Natural gas to be supplied to the European Union will come either from the Arab Republic of Egypt, or from the State of Israel, or from any other source in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including EU member states in this region,” the nine-page document says.

The EU has publicly stated that it intends to conclude a trilateral agreement with Egypt and Israel before the summer, but the details of the June 7 project were not disclosed.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is due to visit Cairo next week.

The draft agreement sets out the principles for expanding cooperation between the three partners, but does not say how much gas the EU will import, and does not set any delivery dates.

The document states that the deliveries will include the use of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure in Egypt, taking into account the plans of the North African country to become a regional natural gas hub.

The MoU will be valid for nine years from its date signing, the document says.

Egypt already exports relatively small amounts of gas to the EU, and both sides expect to increase production and exports in the coming years.

According to Refinitiv Eikon, Egypt exported 8.9 billion cubic meters m of LNG last year and 4.7 billion cubic meters. m in the first five months of 2022, although most of it goes to Asia.

Industry officials say Israel plans to double gas production to around 40bcm in the next few years. m per year as projects expand and new deposits are put into operation. Israel has said it hopes to strike a deal to supply gas to Europe and is also considering building a pipeline to export gas to Egypt.

The EU imported 155 billion cubic meters last year. m of gas from Russia, which is about 40% of the total consumption of the block.