Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will send a special envoy to Cairo for talks about the Swiss court’s decision to fine Egypt $1.7bn in compensation to Israel Electricity Company for cutting gas supplies.
The envoy is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian government on the international judicial committee’s verdict issued on Sunday after more than three years.
Talks on importing Israeli gas were suspended following the court decision, until the Egyptian government is through with all appeal procedures.
“Both Cyprus and Israel have discovered new natural gas resources and it is in their interest to export it and come back to us,” former minister of petroleum Osama Kamal said in a phone interview to a local TV channel on Tuesday.
“The appeal is our right because the verdict was issued in the absence of an Egyptian judge,” he said, adding that the talks have been ongoing for quite a while already.
Following the 25 January Revolution in 2011, Egyptian authorities decided to suspend a 20-year agreement, beginning 2008, to supply Israel with natural gas due to security issues.
The Israeli government filed a lawsuit in response, claiming losses for the suspensions, and called on compensation of up to $4bn from the Egyptian government.
Israel has previously discovered a new natural gas field known as Leviathan and decided to start extractions from 2019-2020. Partners in the Israeli Leviathan gas field had announced at the Israeli stock market early November an initial short-term agreement with an Egyptian company to supply it with gas.
Egypt has been witnessing an acute shortage of natural gas since 2013, which significantly affected the electricity supply for citizens and for cement and fertilisers factories.
After the 25 January Revolution in Egypt, the Arab Gas Pipeline that links Port Said and Al-Arish to the port of Aqaba in Jordan became a target for Sinai-based militant groups. Explosions took place for the 28th time in February 2015.
Meanwhile, Italian energy giant Eni SpA said it discovered the “largest ever” natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off Egypt. According to the company, the find could meet Egypt’s natural gas needs for decades to come. However, this did not deter the Egyptian government from its decision to import Israeli gas or allowing the use of coal as an alternative source of fuel.