SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Israel will require several years before it can significantly increase its natural gas supplies to Europe, the country’s energy ministry said on Friday.
Israel and neighboring Egypt had signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Union in June to ship more gas to the bloc as it seeks to diversify away from Russia.
Asked when new supplies would be delivered under that framework deal, Lior Schillat, the director-general of the Ministry of Energy, said it would be a while.
“In the short term, there will be some increase but the big numbers will come later,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
Israel has become an energy exporter following a number of offshore gas discoveries over the past decade. It has been increasing the amount it sells to neighbors Egypt and Jordan and is studying the option of shipping more to Egypt, where it can be liquefied and sold to more distant markets as LNG.
Schillat said that Israel was expecting to be able to sharply increase its gas production over three to four years, possibly doubling it, which would provide significant volumes above and beyond its domestic needs for export.
He said Israel was preparing for this by exploring ways to expand pipeline capacity to Egypt.
“It is true that most of our surplus gas will be created in the next three to four years,” he said.
“So clearly, it’s not an immediate ability to supply gas in the in the short term. We’re talking about a relatively low amount here,” he said.
Israel has a few offshore gas fields. The largest, Leviathan, is mostly earmarked for export
Output from Leviathan was 2.8 billion cubic meters in the second quarter of 2022, 2.0 BCM of which went to Egypt and Jordan.
Israel is awaiting a proposal from Leviathan’s operators NewMed and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) to expand the field, Schillat said.
Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by David Gregorio
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