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Egypt engaged in talks on importing Israeli gas

2 February 2015 12:12

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Egypt is considering importing natural gas from Israel as a delegation from American oil firm Noble Energy has traveled to the North African country for talks over the issue, sources say.

“Negotiations are underway about the amount of gas that can be imported,” an Egyptian Oil Ministry source said on Sunday, adding the talks were about the technical procedures for bringing Israeli gas into Egypt.

Earlier in the day, another source at Cairo’s airport noted that a delegation from Israel arrived in the country and stayed for several hours to discuss gas shipments.

Egypt could import natural gas from the Israeli Tamar offshore gas field, which Noble operates, while the field’s partners seek to link it to Egypt’s Damietta LNG plant.

In November 2014, Delek Drilling, one of the Israeli partners in the field, noted that if Egypt and Israel cut a deal, Egypt could start importing gas from 2017.

In mid-January, Egypt said importing gas from Israel is a possibility.

“Anything can happen,” said Egyptian Oil Minister Sharif Ismail when answering a question about the prospects of the country resorting to Israeli gas imports.

A gas export deal between Cairo and Tel Aviv was terminated by Egypt’s state-run gas cmpany EGAS following the ouster of the country’s dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Relations between the two sides have improved since the 2013 toppling of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Cairo has also been accused of acting as Israel’s proxy in maintaining Tel Aviv’s years-long blockade on the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip.

Over the past months, Cairo has inked several deals to import natural gas to power Egyptian homes and factories.

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