Can the East Med gas hub remain with Israel at its center?


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Dr. Karen E. Young

Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University


Nov. 13, 2023

Bottom Line:

The war between Israel and Hamas, after the Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli communities on Oct. 7, is affecting regional energy production and cooperation. Oil markets have proven optimistic that the conflict will not expand to the rest of the region, and natural gas prices as well do not seem to be immediately impacted. 

The effects are most visible in the temporary stoppage at the start of the war of Israeli pipeline gas from the Tamar offshore field to Egypt, which has traditionally been used as a portion of Egyptian export of LNG and as a stock for Egyptian electricity generation. Israel surprised markets in following through with the awarding of 12 gas exploration licenses to six firms on Oct. 29, just weeks after the attack and in the midst of a war. Italy’s ENI, Dana Petroleum and Israeli Ratio Energies will have license to explore west of the Leviathan field, the current most important source of Israeli gas exports. 

However, while the short-term signals see continuity in work, there is a growing risk that East Mediterranean gas production, as a whole, will suffer from the conflict and the growing lack of cooperation and economic and political coordination between Israel and its neighbors.  

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