According to Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, Yuval Steinitz, representatives from Israel's Foreign Ministry and its Department of Energy attended a meeting to discuss the construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries with Turkish officials. This follows earlier meetings that were held in October.
The talks in October considered a framework agreement between the two countries. They called for a pipeline to be laid by April 2017. However, it is believed that the completion date of the agreement is likely to be deferred.
Turkish and Israeli companies are now discussing the possibility of the gas pipeline being built between Israel and Turkey to transport natural gas supplies from the Leviathan gas field off the coast of Israel. This field holds approximately 620 billion m3 of gas.
Following talks with his Turkish counterpart, Berat Albayrak, Steinitz highlighted: "What we decided is to immediately establish a dialogue between our two governments [...] in order to examine the possibility and the feasibility of such a project [building an offshore pipeline to pump Israeli gas to Turkish and other European consumers]."
Steinitz also added that that there were talks with Egypt on the export of gas from Israel to that country.
Alongside the talks with Turkey and Egypt, according to Steinitz, Israel had reached an agreement with Greece, Cyprus and Italy for laying a gas pipeline from Leviathan via Cyprus, Crete and southern Greece to Europe. Steinitz added that while Israel is building and widening its regional energy cooperation links, “the Turkish option is very important.”
Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel deteriorated with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rise to power. Moreover, in 2010, Israel raided a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. This was a deadly occurrence and soured relations further before the two countries signed a reconciliation agreement in June.
Turkey demanded several conditions, including an apology, payment of compensation and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade. According to the Anadolu Agency, Ankara considers these terms fulfilled.
Steinitz added: "[Israel] will also be glad to see Turkish companies involved in Israeli energy sector.”
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