Turkey’s most affordable route for exporting Israeli natural gas: Erdoğan

Cost calculations have shown that Turkey is the most affordable route for the export of Israeli natural gas, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.

Erdoğan said he was “very, very optimistic” about energy cooperation with Israel, and he will discuss the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“If we discuss this topic with Bennett after Ramadan and take action immediately, the process will accelerate for Israeli-Turkish cooperation, Eastern Mediterranean crude oil and natural gas,” the president told reporters. journalists on his plane returning from a trip to Uzbekistan.

Turkey and Israel have worked in recent weeks to mend their longstanding ties, and energy has emerged as a potential area for cooperation.

Reports suggest a gas pipeline between Turkey and Israel is being discussed behind the scenes as one of the European alternatives to Russian energy supplies.

The reports come after Turkey and Israel heralded a new era in their relationship when Israeli President Isaac Herzog made a historic visit to Ankara earlier in March after a year-long rift.

Separately, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that a possible gas pipeline project between Turkey and Israel will not happen in the short term and that the construction of an alternative system to reduce Russian dependence will not happen. rapidly.

First conceived years ago, the idea is to build an undersea pipeline connecting Turkey to Israel’s largest offshore natural gas field, Leviathan. The gas would be routed to Turkey and to southern European neighbors looking to diversify away from Russia.

Erdoğan said last week that gas cooperation was “one of the most important steps we can take together for bilateral relations” and told reporters he was ready to send senior ministers to Israel to revive the gas cooperation. pipeline idea that has been floating around for years.

Speaking to broadcaster A Haber, Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that he would visit Israel and Palestine with Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez in mid-May to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation opportunities.

Gas supplies from the Mediterranean could ease Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent calls by European leaders to reduce the continent’s dependence on -screw Moscow.

Plans for an undersea gas pipeline that would transport Israeli gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe via the Greek administration of Cyprus, Greece and Italy, excluding Turkey, stalled after that the United States expressed its concerns in January.

Turkey has long opposed the plan and has stressed that any plan to sideline the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in the eastern Mediterranean would be futile.

The EastMed pipeline had benefited from the support of the former Trump administration in the United States. However, in an apparent reversal, the Biden administration in January expressed doubts about the project, citing concerns about its economic viability and environmental costs.

The Leviathan field already supplies Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Its owners – Chevron and the Israeli companies NewMed Energy and Ratio Oil – plan to increase production from 12 to 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.

By way of comparison, the European Union imported 155 Gm3 of Russian gas last year, covering almost 40% of its consumption.

Much of the additional gas production will be liquefied and exported by ships to Europe or the Far East, according to NewMed. Its chief executive said last month that Turkey could also become a destination, but must commit to building the pipeline.

Turkey consumes around 50 billion m3 of natural gas per year and imports almost all of this, most of it via pipelines from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan. It is well placed as a transport hub in the region where energy policy can be heated.

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