Israeli natural gas flowing to Egypt after halting imports, shut down of offshore fields

Laura Hurst, Anna Shiryaevskaya and Salma El Wardany, Bloomberg November 03, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Natural gas is flowing to Egypt from Israel again, days after the North African nation reported a halt in imports, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The giant offshore Leviathan field is exporting the fuel after another Israeli field, Karish, returned from an outage, allowing domestic demand to be met, said the people who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.

Still, Egypt’s imports fairly low, at 250 MMcfd, one of the people said. That compares with about 800 MMcfd normally.

Egypt’s natural gas imports had fallen to zero, the government said earlier this week, causing more of the power cuts that have plagued the country this year. Earlier in October, Israel shut its offshore Tamar gas field because of the fighting in Gaza, which also reduced onward shipments to Egypt.

The market is closely watching whether the Israel-Hamas war will disrupt regional flows as the heating season in the Northern Hemisphere expands. Europe typically imports small volumes of liquefied natural gas from Egypt, which partially relies on supplies from Israel.

Egypt’s LNG exports could be 40% lower over this winter than forecast a month earlier, according to BloombergNEF projections.

However, unusually hot weather has meant the nation was consuming all the gas that it was getting, leaving little for overseas shipments. Before the latest supply interruptions, the government’s plan was to resume exports to Europe in October.

LNG exports from Egypt would resume once domestic demand for cooling subsides, Eni SpA, which has operations in the nation, has said. The country’s energy needs are “much less” during the winter and Eni is likely to be able to export LNG from November, Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said Wednesday.

Lead image: Chevron's Leviathan offshore field (Source: Chevron)

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