Israel hopes to boost gas exports to Italy, Europe: PM

ROME: Israel wants to increase its gas exports to Italy and Europe, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, raising the possibility of building a liquefied natural gas terminal in Cyprus.

“We are already cooperating with your national company (energy giant ENI) on gas, but we want to expand it,” he told Italy’s 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 plant, maybe in Cyprus, to increase Israel’s gas export capacity 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 deposits off its coast in the early 2010s.

But it lacks a gas pipeline to connect its Mediterranean drilling platforms to southern Europe.

“I think this (gas) is a strategic need of Italy and Europe, and Israel is ready to do more with you for this goal,” Netanyahu said ahead of a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Urso welcomed his remarks, saying: “Italy aspires to become the European gas hub and Israel must be the hub for gas production.”

Other options for bringing Israeli gas to Europe include the EastMed project, the construction of a nearly 1,900-kilometer (1,180-mile) pipeline, mostly submerged, to connect Israel’s offshore gas fields to southern Europe via Cyprus and Greece .

The gas would then be transported to Otranto in southern Italy via the Poseidon pipeline.

But the €6 billion ($6.35 billion) project is not expected to come on stream until sometime between 2025 and 2027. – AFP Israel hopes to boost gas exports to Italy, Europe: PM

Russell Falcon

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