Jul 17, 2011

Unstable Gas Supply Puts More Strain on Israel-Egypt Relations

Ryan JonesBy Ryan Jones
Israel Today

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Last week the pipeline that Egypt uses to supply natural gas to both Israel and Jordan was bombed for the fourth time since the pro-democracy revolution that ousted former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

Bombed gas pipeline in Al-ArishIsrael's purchase of natural gas from Egypt was an important part of growing economic ties between the two nations stemming from the Camp David Accords. It supplied Israel with a relatively inexpensive and clean energy alternative, and brought in significant revenue for Egypt.

But energy industry experts say the latest explosion did serious damage to the pipeline, and it could be some time before the flow of natural gas resumes. And even then, it is likely only a matter of time until the next bombing.

That has Israelis thinking that maybe the time has come to stop relying on Egypt for such a large portion of its energy needs.

In the short term, Israel will get by using "dirty" energy sources like gasoline and diesel. Looking to the future, Israel's own enormous offshore natural gas finds could easily replace what the Jewish state was buying from Egypt.

But that won't bode well for Israel-Egypt relations that are already starting to strain as the Muslim Brotherhood takes an increasingly prominent role in the future of Egyptian politics.

"The most important economic connection between Israel and Egypt is eroding," National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau told Army Radio last week.

Related Links

Egypt sued over pipeline blasts - YNet News
Israel eyes 10 pct of energy from renewable by 2020 - Reuters
Hezbollah warns Israel over Med gas - Ahram Online
Mubarak: We tripled the price of gas exports to Israel - Jerusalem Post
Cairo: Delay in Trial on Gas Exports to Israel - Arutz Sheva