Energy Minister Berat Albayrak is set to visit Israel by the end of this year to conclude an agreement for the building of a natural gas pipeline to Turkey, the Israeli energy minister said on July 12, 2017.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said both countries decided to accelerate efforts to conclude by the end of this year an intergovernmental agreement that will enable the construction of a pipeline from Israel to Turkey..
He added that no exact date had been fixed but it would take place in the coming months.
«We want to build a pipeline stretching from Israel to Turkey in order to able to export natural gas from Israel to Turkey,» Steinitz said, adding that the Israeli gas could be delivered to Europe and to the Balkans through Turkey.
Israel is searching for energy partners to develop its Leviathan gas field in a bid to make it economically feasible.
Emphasizing that there are scientific studies showing the presence of more gas reserves in Israel's exclusive economic zone, Steinitz said that there is a large amount of natural gas in the region, including off Cyprus and Egypt.
As Western Europe meets its natural gas needs from resources in Russia and the North Sea, Steinitz said that resources in the North Sea are on the verge of running out, adding that a serious decline in natural gas production in the region is expected.
Relations between Turkey and Israel came to a halt in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara, en route to deliver humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The raid killed 10 people.
The Israeli government took a step toward reconciliation on March 24, 2013, when Israeli PM Netanyahu, under the encouragement of U.S. President Obama, apologized for the mishandling of the raid during a conference call with then PM Erdoğan. Israel also agreed to pay compensation to the families of the victims.
After nearly 6,5 years, a reconciliation deal was reached between Turkey and Israel and ratified in Parliament on August 20 last year before being signed into law by President Erdoğan on August 31.