Draghi in Israel. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met on Tuesday with his Israeli counterpart, Naftali Bennett, in Jerusalem. Talks centered on bilateral cooperation, energy supplies and the ecological transition.
- “We are working together to leverage gas resources in the East Mediterranean and to develop renewable energy sources,” explained PM Draghi during a joint presser with PM Bennet. The goal — he said — is to “reduce our dependence from Russian gas and accelerate our energy transition towards the climate goals we set.”
A Med energy cartel. According to Giuseppe Dentice, Middle East and Northern Africa Desk at CeSI, a think tank, “Israel might be interested in offering Italy a central role in brokering energy agreements that the European Union will negotiate with Israel and Egypt, creating a sort of sub-regional cartel that would also include Greece and Cyprus.”
- Energy and the Med are the centerpieces of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s current visit in the region. After Israel, she will travel to Egypt and Jordan.
- On Wednesday, the Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt and Israel to boost gas exports.
Gas supply talks. In Israel, Mr Draghi is negotiating alternative gas supply options for Italy.
- One, the easiest and fastest solution, is through the so-called “Peace Gas Pipeline” running from Israel to Egypt. The gas would then be liquefied and shipped by sea from Egypt to Italy.
- As much as 7.5 billion cubic meters a year could be produced in, and shipped from, the recently reopened Damietta station. Italian energy major Eni holds a stake in that operation.
- A second solution would involve Turkey, where Mr Draghi will travel to in a few weeks, and leverage the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
- A third solution could entail the creation of the “EastMed” pipeline, which could take at least four years.
And stronger ties. Messrs Draghi and Bennett also agreed to strengthen the relations between the two governments, with energy collaboration being one of the top priorities.
- Diplomats are working to set up a bilateral summit in Jerusalem, in October, and a visit by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to Israel in the summer, after a previous trip, scheduled for the spring, was canceled.