A Natural Gas Pipeline From Israel to Turkey
A natural gas pipeline from the Israeli Leviathan gas field to Turkey would cost $2.5 billion and could transport 16 billion cubic meters of gas, Matthew Bruyza, a senior executive at Turkish energy company Turcas Petrol said yesterday. Turcas is itself proposing to build the pipeline. The company describes it as an attractive venture despite the political risks arising from the strained relations between Israel and Turkey.
This is the first public statement by a Turkish company about the proposed Israel natural gas export venture to Turkey, an option that has been winning preference recently in Israeli eyes. Several Turkish companies, including Zorlu, a partner in the Dorad power plant in Ashkelon, have been holding talks with the Leviathan partners about an agreement to buy gas and build a pipeline from the huge field. The negotiations are subject to the High Court not cancelling the cabinet’s decision permitting the export of up to 40% of Israel’s gas reserves. The next High Court hearing of the petition is on October.
To bypass Syria
At an international energy conference held in Paphos, Cyprus this week, Bryza, who is a director of Turcas, presented for the first time in a public forum a detailed plan of the pipeline venture that the Turkish company is proposing. Many Israeli businesspeople attended the conference.
Bryza said that the company was interested in building a 470 kilometer long pipeline from Leviathan to the southern Turkish port of Cekisan or Mersin. Bryza, a former US diplomat, said, “Our company and other companies are prepared to take the risk on themselves if the venture is hurt or even torpedoed by political developments.”
Most of the Leviathan gas would be used on the Turkish market which needs new sources of supply, while some would be sold in Europe, mainly Greece. The shortest route for the gas pipeline will need to pass through Cyprus’s economic zone in order to bypass areas controlled by Syria.
Turcas is a relatively small company, traded on the Istanbul Stock Exchange with a market cap of $320 million.