Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel is prepared for possible disruptions in its natural gas supplies from Egypt, following the recent unrest in the country that supplies a quarter of its energy needs. This weekend, a suspected sabotage blast at a gas terminal in the northern Sinai town of el-Arish resulted in the precautionary halting of Egyptian gas supply to Israel.
Israel will advance plans for an offshore floating LNG receiving platform, linked to the shore by pipeline. The project is expected to cost in the region of US$ 300 million, and be operational by Q4 2012. Additionally, the recent discoveries of major gas deposits Tamar and Leviathan, along with vast reserves of oil shale, go a long way in promoting confidence in Israel’s (more diverse) future energy security. The Leviathan field alone could support Israel’s energy needs for up to 40 years, holding as it does some 16 trillion ft3 of gas.
However, the country holds long term contracts with Egypt for the importation of natural gas, therefore decreasing the likelihood of any volatile changes in Israel’s energy mix for the time being. It remains to be seen how Egypt’s future government will go about changing the two nations’ energy relationship.