Israel hopes to up gas exports to Italy, Europe: PM
March 11, 2023 09:30 AM
Israel wants to increase its gas exports to Italy and Europe, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, raising the possibility of creating a liquefied natural gas terminal in Cyprus.
"We are already cooperating in gas with your national company (energy giant ENI) but we want to expand it," he told Italian Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso at a business forum in Rome.
"I think we should look very carefully and quickly at the possibility of adding an LNG facility, perhaps in Cyprus, to increase Israel's export capacities of gas to Italy, and from Italy to Europe," he said.
Like other European countries, Italy has been working hard to reduce its dependence on Russian gas since the start of the Ukraine war.
Israel began producing and exporting gas after discovering several reservoirs off its coast in early 2010s.
But it lacks a gas pipeline to connect its drilling platforms in the Mediterranean to southern Europe.
"I think this (gas) is a strategic need of Italy and Europe, and Israel is prepared to do more with you for that end," said Netanyahu, ahead of a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Urso welcomed his comments, saying: "Italy aims to become the European gas hub and Israel must be the point of strength for gas production."
Other options to bring Israeli gas to Europe include the EastMed project, the construction of a largely underwater pipeline nearly 1,900 kilometres (1,180 miles) long, to connect Israel's offshore gas fields with southern Europe through Cyprus and Greece.
The gas would then be transported via the Poseidon pipeline to Otranto in southern Italy.
But the six-billion-euro ($6.35-billion) project is only expected to be up and running sometime between 2025 and 2027.