Egypt to take over development of Gaza’s off-shore gas field
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – There are plans in the making for Egypt to take over the development of Gaza’s offshore natural gas field, a move that would stimulate the weak Palestinian economy, i24 News reports. The Gaza Marine field is believed to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, well over what is needed to supply Palestinian territories, and could therefore be a potentially lucrative source of export.
Development of the Gaza Marine field, some 20 miles off the Gaza coast in the eastern Mediterranean, has been stalled by conflict with Israel and other political and economic factors, i24 reports. Meanwhile, Israel and Egypt have been able to produce gas in the same region for years.
The Shell oil giant had considered developing the Gaza field but gave up its stake in 2018, i24 said. Since then, the Palestinians have sought a new foreign group that would take over the project but would allow Palestinian companies to keep at least 55 percent of the shares.
An Egyptian security official has told Reuters in Cairo that Egypt’s state-owned gas company EGAS will develop the Gaza field with a coalition of licensed companies, i24 said. The official said Cairo and Jerusalem have been discussing the idea for around two months in light of the fact that both Egypt and Israel maintain a blockade on Gaza. Israel has said in the past it supports the development of Gaza’s gas field.
A Palestinian official familiar with the talks with Egypt told Reuters: “These talks are progressing positively. Once a detailed and final agreement is reached, it will be announced after obtaining the official approvals according to the established rules.”