Israel moves forward with pipeline to alleviate energy crisis in Gaza

Israel has become a major energy exporter for the Middle East ever since the Leviathan reservoir was discovered in 2010.

By World Israel News Staff

With the sole power plant in Gaza regularly operating at half capacity, Gaza has long been dealing with an energy crisis that is regulated by an 8-hour on, 8-hour off electricity rationing system.

Calcalist reported on Monday that Israel’s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz has ordered government-owned natural gas transmission company Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd. (INGL) to submit a detailed plan for the construction of a pipeline streaming natural gas to the Gaza Strip.

According to the report, the order was given after unspecified European countries agreed to foot the bill for the $2.9 million developmental plans.

The proposed pipeline will be able to transfer up to one billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Negev to the Strip every year, which would be more than enough to supply most of Gaza’s electricity needs.

The construction of the pipeline itself is estimated to cost about $60 million and would require a gas contract to be signed between Israeli and Gazan entities. The ministry expects the necessary agreements to be signed during the first quarter of 2020, which would pave the way for a completion date by 2022.

The report did not specify where the money to construct the pipeline will come from.

Israel has become a major energy exporter for the Middle East ever since the Leviathan reservoir was discovered in 2010 some 125 kilometers (75 miles) off the Israeli coast, and the discovery of the smaller Tamar field.

In December, Israel signed a $15 billion deal to provide Egypt with 64 billion cubic meters of gas over a 10-year period that will help transform both into regional energy players.

Defying all odds, the Israelis and Palestinians initially agreed on the project in 2016.