Palestinians are hopeful that direct Egyptian intervention will allow them to develop the Gaza Strip’s offshore gas field after years of Israeli objections, which have obstructed any agreements.
Attempts to extract gas have always faltered due to the Israeli intransigence, senior adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas on economic affairs Mohammad Mustafa told reporters in Ramallah.
However, the Palestinian authorities are currently coordinating with Egypt to resolve this challenge, he stressed, affirming that the Palestinians are trying to benefit from Cairo’s efforts and regional relations to extract the gas “as soon as possible.”
His made his remarks a day after Palestine signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egypt to develop the infrastructure of the Gaza Marine Gas Field.
Chair of the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) Magdy Galal and Mustafa signed the MoU, in the presence of Abbas and Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla.
The gas field located off the coast of Gaza is one of the major national resources Palestine has always strived to control, extract and use in the fields of energy, electricity and industry, Mustafa explained.
He pointed out that EGAS will cooperate with the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reach an agreement that ultimately leads to the extraction of gas, its transfer to Palestinian areas and possibly sell it to Egypt.
Egypt’s developed infrastructure and the availability of factories and necessary equipment “will make it easy to deliver gas to Egyptian territory through short pipelines and then export it abroad.”
The British Gas Group (BG Group) and the Consolidated Contractors Limited (CCC) discovered the field in 2000.
The Gaza Marine-1 (GM-1) exploration well was drilled in September 2000 at a water depth of 603 meters, followed by the Gaza Marine-2 (GM-2) well, located approximately five kilometers southwest of GM-1, at a water depth of 535 meters. Reserves were estimated in excess of one trillion cubic feet.
Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh welcomed the signing of the MoU and pointed out that “the technical team has been ordered to supply the Strip with our gas that will be developed by Egypt, not Israel.”