Israel Mulls European Request for Gas as Russia Threatens to Cut Supplies

On Tuesday, senior sources at the Israeli Energy Ministry confirmed that the European Energy Commissioner had reached out to ask whether they could provide liquefied natural gas so the continent can pull back from Russian supplies. According to officials of the Energy Ministry, they are considering the request, but also added that the Karish gas field coming online would determine their ability, which is scheduled to take place in the fall. The field had been connected to the national gas line in Israel earlier this week. The Leviathan and Tamar gas fields of Israel in the Mediterranean are operated by the Chevron company. 

However, the company did not comment on the topic of providing Europe with gas. But, Michael Wirth, the company’s CEO spoke at a conference in Houston. He stated that it was possible to come up with a plan for a natural gas pipeline in the eastern Mediterranean region that would connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece to Italy, from where it could be connected to Europe and so on. Earlier this year, the United States had withdrawn its support for the pipeline in question. The eventual aim of establishing this pipeline was to provide 10% of its gas to Europe. 

According to the data provided by the International Energy Agency, the European Union had had to import gas from Russia last year, which was around 115 billion cubic meters (bcm). This was around 45% of the total gas imports of the continent. Alexander Novak, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister threatened on Monday that they would also respond to the sanctions that have been imposed on the country as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. He said that they would cut off European gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The work that had been ongoing on the project of the Russian Nord Stream pipeline 2 had been halted last month by Germany.

Joe Biden, the president of the United States, announced on Tuesday that the country was imposing a ban on Russian gas and oil imports. Likewise, the European Commission also outlined plans of cutting down the dependence of the EU on Russian gas this year by two-thirds and eliminating it completely before 2030. According to the UK, they also plan on phasing out oil imports from Russia by the end of the year. Currently, Israel has two natural gas fields that are working, which are the Tamar and the newer and bigger Leviathan. 

These two pipelines are serviced through fixed offshore production platforms, but Karish will be different because it would use a floating production, offloading and storage vessel. There are no facilities in Israel for liquefying natural gas and the nearest one is located in Egypt. A 10-point plan was issued by the International Energy Agency earlier this month in order to help reduce the reliance of the European Union on gas from Russia. This plan included increasing the import of liquefied natural gas in the coming year by about 20 billion cubic meters, which is transported via ship. 

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