Energy: Gaza raids 'hurting' Turkish-Israeli relations

Israel looking for a stable partner for gas exports, expert says

16 July, 11:12

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, JULY 16 - Turkey is considered as the most reliable route for Israel to export its natural gas by many economists, however - as Anadolu Agency reports - the recent Israeli military operation in Gaza has created a further backsliding in Turkish-Israeli rapprochement.

    With Israel now locked into more violence with the Palestinians and subject to wider problems given such regional conflicts like the Syrian civil war and Iraq's latest upsurge in violence, the country is now looking for a stable partner for energy exports.

    The recently discovered Leviathan gas field off the coast of Israel is a major find in a region which holds nearly 620 billion cubic meters of gas. However, compensation talks with Israel for the families of the Turkish victims of the Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla in 2010 were continuing but the recent Gaza operation has now increased obstacles to improving Turkish-Israeli relations.

    David Koranyi, acting director of Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center - part of the U.S. Atlantic Council think tank - told Anadolu Agency that all of Israel's options to export its natural gas to international markets suffer from one or more major flaws, either politically or commercially. "It is important to understand that nothing has been decided yet," Koranyi said, adding that, "The only thing that seems fairly certain is export of somewhat larger quantities of gas to Jordan, which desperately needs to reduce its prohibitive energy bill." Noble and Delek, the two energy companies with operating rights in Leviathan, said in late June that they signed a preliminary agreement with British oil and gas company BG to export 7 billion cubic meters of gas to BG's facility in Egypt for 15 years. Commenting on the deal, Koranyi said although the agreement between Israel and BG made a lot of commercial sense - it was "tentative". Underlining that such a deal is fraught by political challenges, Koranyi said any new arrangement on purchasing Israeli gas would encounter domestic opposition and also face security challenges in the Sinai region if the existing Port Said-El Arish pipeline is used.

    Koranyi said a pipeline to Turkey via the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or Cyprus itself is another option for Israel; however, this is unlikely without resolving the Cyprus dispute first. The Cyprus peace talks, which stalled in January 2012, resumed in February with the distribution of the Aphrodite gas field being among the negotiations' most important topics.


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