Oil & Gas

26 Oct 2022

Egypt Oil Min Says Framework Agreement in Place on Gaza Marine Field

26 Oct 2022  by   

Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla speaks during the Saudi Green Initiative Forum to discuss efforts by the world's top oil exporter to tackle climate change in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Egypt's petroleum minister confirmed on Tuesday a framework agreement had been reached to develop the Gaza Marine gas field offshore Gaza and talks were under way to conclude a final deal.

Egypt's state-owned gas company EGAS is aiming to take over development of the field, Egyptian and Palestinian officials told Reuters earlier this month. If concluded, the agreement would be a boost for the cash-strapped Palestinian economy.

"The details of it have not been finalised but only the general framework. We started talking with Israel about it two years ago," Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters on Tuesday.

"A plan to execute that agreement will be announced at an appropriate time," Molla added.

A Palestinian official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters an agreement on “basic conditions” had been reached but further talks on the technicalities and final approvals from the Palestinian Authority would be needed.

Israeli officials also told Reuters that Israel's energy minister had decided to hold off on a final deal until after Israel's upcoming elections in November.

Cairo has also been in contact with officials from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which has run Gaza since 2007, over the gas field, according to a Palestinian official familiar with the issue.

Egypt has played a key role in mediating ceasefire agreements between Israel, Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza for decades.

While Egypt and Israel have been producing gas in the eastern Mediterranean for years, the Gaza Marine field, about 30 km (20 miles) off the Gaza coast, has remained undeveloped due to political disputes and conflict with Israel, as well as economic factors.

Gaza Marine is estimated to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, much more than is needed to power the Palestinian territories and some of which could potentially be exported.


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