A trillion cubic meters of gas reserves are located off the coast of Israel, the country itself only needs a fraction. On her trip to Jerusalem, Commission President von der Leyen advocates supplying the EU with more energy. The question of transport is still open.
Against the background of the Ukraine war and the halt to gas deliveries from Russia, the EU wants to significantly expand its energy partnership with Israel. "The Kremlin used our dependence on fossil fuels from Russia to blackmail us," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech in Israel's Be'er Sheva. In order to end this dependency on Russia, the EU is trying, among other things, to "expand our energy cooperation with Israel".
In conversation with the Israeli energy minister, Karine Elharrar, von der Leyen emphasized on Monday that "the EU needs Israeli gas." Talks have been going on for months for an agreement to ship Israeli gas to Europe via Egypt. A Commission spokesman said there would be announcements about energy cooperation "with Israel and other partners in the region" "in the coming days". After her visit to Israel, von der Leyen will travel on to Egypt.
Von der Leyen also specifically referred to plans for an underwater pipeline that could connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean. However, the EastMed project is said to cost almost six billion euros and is likely to take years to complete. The Israeli side has also called for Italy to participate in a pipeline. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who is also currently visiting Israel, advocated bilateral Israeli-Italian gas cooperation.
According to estimates, Israel has gas reserves of at least one trillion cubic meters off its coast. The gas requirement in the country for the next three decades is estimated at a maximum of 300 billion cubic meters. The country is currently trying to export natural gas to Europe. In return, Israel could export more gas to Egypt via an existing pipeline, where it could then be liquefied and shipped to Europe. Alternatives would be the construction of a pipeline to Turkey, which is already connected to Europe via a pipeline - or the new EastMed subsea pipeline directly to southern Europe.