Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked an inter-ministerial team to evaluate potential alternatives to the country's existing gas export routes and the feasibility of constructing a new undersea pipeline through Turkey to export gas to Southern Europe.
Among the possibilities under consideration is the construction of an underwater pipeline connecting Türkiye to Israel's largest offshore natural gas reservoir, Leviathan.
In a significant development aimed at diversifying Israel's gas export options, the proposed initiative seeks to establish a robust alternative gas supply channel for Europe, aiming to reduce the region's reliance on Russian gas at a time when Europe is actively pursuing strategies to enhance its energy security.
The envisioned pipeline aims to connect the key Turkish-European pipeline and the abundant gas reserves in Israel and nearby areas such as Egypt and the UAE. The endeavor holds the potential to reshape energy dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Sources within Tel Aviv have revealed that the directive to form the inter-ministerial team was issued during a high-level meeting. The meeting saw the presence of Prime Minister Netanyahu, Energy Minister Israel Katz, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Israel's National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi.
The proposal to establish the Türkiye-Israel pipeline is not without historical context. Over the years, Türkiye has actively encouraged Israel to pursue the construction of this pipeline.
However, Israel has been cautious, fearing that such a project could strain its relationships with neighboring countries like Cyprus and Greece, given that the pipeline would traverse their territorial waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
The timing of this development coincides with growing diplomatic engagement between Israel and Türkiye, with Prime Minister Netanyahu scheduled to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the coming weeks.
This meeting, originally slated for July 28, had been postponed due to Netanyahu's pacemaker surgery. Observers in Tel Aviv are drawing connections between the postponed meeting and Netanyahu's recent directive to form the inter-ministerial team.
Political sources speculate that Erdogan's interest in the pipeline's passage through Türkiye to Europe could be a pivotal factor driving this initiative, with experts anticipating that Türkiye might present concrete demands to Israel in exchange for supporting the pipeline project as discussions progress.
As Europe seeks to diversify its energy sources and reduce reliance on Russian gas, the formation of the inter-ministerial team and the potential Türkiye-Israel pipeline mark a significant step forward in the region's energy landscape.
The coming weeks could shed further light on this strategic endeavor's potential feasibility and implications.