In an interview with Bloomberg, Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said that Egypt will be able to create a hub of energy with Israel and Cyprus, and even Libya in the future, regarding the recent Zohr field discovery in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Regarding how the matter affects the politics in the Middle East, Descalzi specifically told Bloomberg: “Egypt will export energy.” He said that Israel & Cyprus will be one of those countries that would receive gas from Egypt and in the future from Libya.
As for the cooperation between Israel and Egypt, Descalzi said that the two countries need each other and can share their facilities and work together.
“When energy puts people together, it’s very positive. That could be a very positive case for friendship,” he said.
Despite the previous fears that Zohr filed discovery would harm Israel, but the latest statement of Eni’s CEO infers the fact that it would intensify the economic partnership between both countries as he mentioned that Israel would be one of the countries benefiting from that discovery.
In the same context, Descalzi told POLITICO newspaper at an earlier time in 2015 that the Egyptian facilities can be used to reduce the costs for Israel and Cyprus saying, “We can create an Eastern Mediterranean hub that can reduce the development costs for Cyprus and Israel, using the existing Egyptian facilities.”
He also said that the idea would be to connect subsea fields in Israel and Cyprus to Egypt’s pipeline network.
In fact, it is unexpected that Egypt would harm Israel’s economy but instead, the big discovery would enhance the economic normalization between both countries which are witnessing unprecedented partnership since al-Sisi reached power by a military coup in 2013.
Once the Mediterranean field was discovered, there was panic in Israel as they expected to export gas to Egypt. However, the Egyptian authorities calmed Israel at that time saying that the discovery of the Zohr natural gas field off Egypt will not undermine the private-sector negotiations about buying gas from Israel. Egyptian authorities also said that the negotiations between private companies in Egypt and in the eastern Mediterranean- Israel and Cyprus-will not stop.