The partnership holding the license for drilling at the Tamar natural gas site on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt to export Israeli gas to the world's largest Arab state.
Israel will sell as much as 2.5 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas to Egyptian industrial, non-governmental customers. The gas will be shipped via pipelines owned by EMG, the same pipeline that in the past carried Egyptian gas to Israel.
According to the deal, the gas will come from excess reserves that Israel was not using or selling to other customers. The price will be based on other export deals Israel makes, with comparable prices.
The final deal will require the approval of the governments of Israel and Egypt, and of the EMG company. Negotiations on behalf of Egypt are being conducted by the Dolphinus company.
In a statement, the Tamar consortium said that the memorandum is another important link in the series of agreements that will allow the supply of natural gas to the domestic market in Egypt. I have no doubt these agreements will lead to a strengthening of ties between Israel and its neighbors.”
Until 2012, Israel had purchased natural gas from Egypt, which processed gas found in Sinai. However, the pipelines in Sinai were abandoned after terrorists blew them up numerous times, making accessing Sinai's gas resources impractical.
Israel's relationship with Egypt, with whom it has a peace treaty, is a complicated one. Although former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood is decidedly hostile to Israel, both prior and subsequent to his rule Jerusalem has enjoyed close security and diplomatic ties with Cairo. Even during Morsi's brief time in power the IDF coordinated closely with the Egyptian military as it battled Islamist insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula.
On the other hand, popular Egyptian sentiment is extremely anti-Israel and anti-Semitism is commonplace within Egyptian media and popular culture.