Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Thursday that Israel has earned approximately 3 billion shekels ($800 million) from selling natural gas over the past year.
Speaking during a briefing to reporters aboard a drilling ship in the area of the Tamar natural gas reservoir, Steinitz said that Israel was advancing the construction of a gas pipeline to Turkey and at the same time constructing a pipeline to Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
Next week, according to the website of newspaper Israel Hayom, a delegation from the Turkish energy ministry will arrive in Israel to discuss the construction of the pipeline to Turkey.
Steinitz said that the meeting – the third on the subject between representatives of energy ministries from both countries – proves that the process is progressing and the Turks are serious about building the pipeline.
“In several weeks I am planning to meet the Italian energy minister and to discuss with him the Israel-Italy gas pipeline. We will export our gas surplus to the region, but also to Europe. This is a huge diplomatic lever and of course tremendous economic gain for the citizens of Israel in the future,” he said.
“We have agreed with the energy ministers of Greece, Cyprus, and Italy about holding a summit in Israel, sponsored by the European Union, in order to begin discussions on building the longest underwater pipeline in the world, that will lead gas from the reservoirs to Italy and from there supply gas to Germany, Austria and other countries. Our goal is to supply ten percent of the European energy market,” Steinitz said.
About 60% of Israel’s energy comes from gas and the remaining from coal, Steinitz said, adding that the goal is in a few years to rely on gas for 90% of the country’s needs and 10% from coal.
Steinitz said in the future the Ministry of Energy wants to convert entire neighborhoods, or even entire towns, to rely solely on gas for energy.