Dolphinus Holding, headed by Egyptian businessman Alaa Arafa, signed a letter of intent with Israeli Leviathan Partners (Delek Group and Noble Energy) to supply Arafa’s company with gas from Israel, Delek’s official website reported.
According to Delek, the parties have agreed on executing negotiations for importing gas from Leviathan (Israel’s offshore gas field), whereby gas quantities will be delivered to Egypt through the Egyptian-Israeli East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) pipelines, constructed a decade ago to transfer Egyptian gas to Israel.
Dolphinus is expected to receive 4 BCM (billion cubic meters) of gas per year over 10-15 years with the final agreement.
The new deal takes place eight months after Dolphinus signed an official contract with the Israeli Tamar partners to purchase $1.2bn worth of gas to be supplied over seven years.
Dolphinus is a consortium of major Egyptian non-governmental industrial and commercial gas consumers, gas distributors and entrepreneurs.
Commenting on the preliminary agreement, Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum issued a statement indicating that the Egyptian petroleum sector is not involved. It highlighted that it was already announced that any agreement will not be reached without the approval of Egyptian authorities and the projects to be implemented must achieve the national interests of Egypt and contribute high added-value to the economy.
Further, the statement noted that the petroleum sector in Egypt is not opposed to private companies’ needs to import gas using the state’s facilitations and infrastructure, and in return the state would receive a tariff that is to be agreed upon.
On a similar note, not too long ago when Sherif Ismail Egypt’s current Prime Minister was the country’s Minister of Petroleum, he told Daily News Egypt that the ministry is not opposed to allowing British BG Group to import gas from Israel, noting at the time that the British company has only signed a letter of intent as an initial agreement to start negotiating with partners in the Leviathan gas field to import natural gas from Israel to a BG Group liquefaction plant in Idku, Egypt.
BG is still carrying negotiatiations for the potential deal.
In June of this year, a senior Egyptian government official said in a statement to Daily News Egypt that a study is being conducted for importing gas from Israeli’s Tamar Group (an owner of natural gas fields) for EDCO and Damietta liquefaction plants in Egypt (owned by Spanish Unión Fenosa).
This would occur in return for achieving revenues for the government and dropping the arbitration suit against Egypt.
The approval for importing gas from Israel will soon be granted by security entities, he added, which are working on the political dimensions of the agreement.
An agreement with Israel is sensitive for Egyptians, as Israel is still widely regarded as the primary state enemy, the official previously said.