Fruits of peace? Israel has started exporting natural gas to Jordan. Also developing export deals with Egypt, Greece, Cyprus & Turkey. Here’s the latest.

naturalgas

(Central Israel) — It’s not just talk. If you look closely, there are actually tangible signs of peace and economic cooperation between Israel and her neighbors.

Taken Jordan, for example. The Hashemite Kingdom signed a peace treaty with the Jewish State in 1994. While there remain many political sensitivities in the relationship, the two countries continue to develop ever closer security and economic ties. This week, we’re learning how the quiet cooperation between the two countries has taken another important step.

“An Israeli company said Thursday it has started exporting gas from an offshore field to Jordan, marking the country’s first ever exports of natural gas,” reported the Times of Israel. “The exports to Jordan began in January, Delek Drilling — part of a consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves.”

With almost no oil or gas resources of its own, Jordan currently imports 97% of its energy needs. I’m encouraged that the Israeli government and the Israeli and American companies drilling for natural gas off the Mediterranean coast were willing to make their first export deal with Jordan, a good neighbor and partner for peace.

I’m also encouraged by the fact that the leaders of Jordan want to cooperate with Israel on such an important energy project, despite some political opposition.

But Jordan isn’t the only story.

  • For many years since the 1979 Camp David accords, Egypt has been selling natural gas from the Sinai to Israel. Recent reports indicate Israel and Egypt are looking for new ways to explore for more gas and cooperate in exporting natural gas.
  • Israel and Turkey are also working on a natural gas deal that could be finalized in 2017.
  • Israel, Greece and Cyprus are reportedly developing plans for a natural gas pipeline.

Let’s keep praying for peace — but let’s also be grateful for the tangible progress that has been made already.

Excerpts from the Times of Israel article:

  • There was no formal announcement at the time but it is the first time Israel has ever exported natural gas, a company spokeswoman said.
  • Jordanian firms Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine signed a deal in 2014 to import 2 billion cubic metres (around 70 billion cubic feet) of gas from Israel’s Tamar field over 15 years….
  • Jordan is one of only two Arab countries to have a peace deal with Israel but the 1994 agreement is unpopular among Jordanians — almost half of whom are of Palestinian origin.
  • Detractors of the gas deal, including Jordan’s main opposition Islamist party, reject any cooperation with a country they regard as an enemy….
  • In September 2016, a larger deal worth an estimated $10 billion was signed to export gas from the Leviathan offshore field to Jordan.
  • In the face of protests, Jordanian Information Minister Mohamed Momani defended the deal, telling state television it would cut $600 million a year from the state’s energy bill. Deliveries from Leviathan are expected to begin in 2019.

More coverage:

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