Daily Israel Report

Pipeline May Connect Black Sea, Red Sea

Turkey and Israel have agreed in principle to build a water and gas pipeline system connecting the Black Sea to the port Eilat on the Red Sea. It might even carry water to help back up the Kinneret.
First Publish: 1/11/2007, 2:13 PM / Last Update: 1/10/2007, 8:31 PM

Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said that Turkey and Israel have provisionally agreed to build a pipeline system connecting the Black Sea to the Red Sea .

The ambitious project involves the building of oil, gas and water pipelines, as well as electricity and fiber optic cables, as part of a seabed pipeline system in the Eastern Mediterranean. Passing through Turkey and bypassing Syria and Lebanon – countries which are hostile to Israel – the pipeline will reach the Israeli port of Ashdod, from where an existing pipeline reaches the port of Eilat in the Red Sea .

A feasibility study is expected to be completed before the end of 2007 and will determine whether the proposed pipeline system will be an extension of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline or of the proposed Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline. Turkey 's Calik Energy and Italy's Eni are currently carrying out a detailed study on the subject.

The Turkish-Israeli pipeline could convey Russian crude or Azeri Light oil to East Asian markets. The natural gas conduit would be an extension of the Blue Stream Pipeline, which runs beneath the Black Sea .

The system could also be used to bring Turkish water to parched Israel. Recent rains have raised the Kineret Sea, Israel's largest reservoir, 9.5 centimeters. The lake now stands at just over 212.1 meters below sea level - 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) - below the optimal level.