On Wednesday, the countries of Egypt and Israel penned a deal with the European Union to increase liquid natural gas sales to EU member states that are hoping to reduce their dependency on petroleum-based fuel products from Russia.
The deal, which was finalized in a ritzy Egyptian hotel, will require Israel to send gas to Egypt for it to be liquified and then shipped to EU member states, according to European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, ABC News reported.
“What a special moment,” von der Leyen proclaimed in a joint press conference alongside representatives of the Egyptian and Israeli governments. “I very warmly welcome the signing of this historic agreement.”
It is not currently clear how much gas will be imported by EU member states from either Egypt or Israel.
Von der Leyen indicated that this new agreement is part of Europe’s ongoing efforts to diversify energy sources away from Russian imports. It highlights an active attempt by the EU to import hydrocarbons from what is labeled “other trustworthy suppliers.”
Von der Leyen indicated that Israel and Egypt are ideal suppliers because of their good relations with EU member states and since both countries discovered large supplies of natural gas off shore.
This new deal will also help Egypt and Israel increase their gas production and drilling explorations in their territorial waters.
During a separate press conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, von der Leyen said, “It is known that the Russian war against Ukraine has exposed our European dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and we want to get rid of this dependency.”
In 2021, the EU imported roughly 40% of its gas from Russia and has had immense difficulty imposing sanctions on Russian fuel imports since Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Israeli Energy Minister Karin Elharrar said the new arrangement was a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in a widespread European energy crisis. She said that the agreement also highlights the increasing cooperation and further strengthening of relations between Egypt and Israel, two nations that used to be enemies.
Elharrar said, “This is a statement to those who see in our region only negative forces such as division and conflict. This (memorandum of understanding) shows us that we are paving a new path of partnership, solidarity, and sustainability.”
Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said that the deal is “an important milestone” for cooperation between the three parties.