Baku, Azerbaijan, July 19
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
A direct undersea pipeline to Turkey is still the most logical export route for Israeli gas because of its economic and technical feasibility, researcher in the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies (Mitvim) Gabriel Mitchell, focusing on energy policy issues, believes.
“This route has its own unique political challenges - primarily the ongoing political dispute in Cyprus - but all of the current momentum suggests that Israel and Turkey are committed to somehow making this work,” the expert told Trend by email.
At the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Turkey and Israel plan to sign an agreement on gas pipeline construction until the yearend.
"We want to build a pipeline stretching from Israel to Turkey in order to able to export natural gas from Israel to Turkey," Steinitz said, adding that the Israeli gas could be delivered to Europe and to the Balkans through Turkey.
According to Mitchell, it is difficult to say how Israel's gas will be transported and consumed. He noted that a potential Israel-Turkey pipeline would require an estimated four years to build, and so much could change in the global and regional energy market between now and then.
“On one hand, it makes perfect sense that Israeli gas would be linked into a larger energy system like TANAP (Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas) or a TANAP/TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) combination once it reaches Turkey,” expert said.
He noted that at the same time, one could easily envision an alternative scenario where the majority of Israeli gas is consumed in the Turkish domestic market.
According to Mitchell, given the limited quantities of Israel's offshore reserves, it is unlikely to make a significant mark on Europe's natural gas market.
“That doesn't mean, however, that the export of Israeli gas won't play a role in increasing European energy security or that some future combination of Israeli gas with the reserves of other Eastern Mediterranean actors couldn't have greater influence,” the expert said adding that however there is a tendency by Israeli officials to oversell its impact.
In Israel, two giant fields - Tamar and Leviathan were discovered in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Gas reserves of these fields amount to tens of trillion cubic feet.