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September 13, 2013 5:30 pm

Turcas Petrol Proposes 470 KM, $2.5 Billion Pipeline to Connect Israel’s Leviathan Gas Well to Turkey

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Turcas, a Turkish energy group, is proposing to develop and build a $2.5 billion, 470 km pipeline to import Israeli natural gas. Photo: Turcas.

Turcas, a Turkish energy group, is proposing to develop and build a $2.5 billion, 470 km pipeline to import Israeli natural gas. Photo: Turcas.

Turkish pipeline operator Turcas Petrol has proposed to develop and construct a $2.5 billion, 470 km pipeline to connect the country to Israel’s Leviathan natural gas platform, Israel’s Globes business daily reported on Friday.

Speaking at an international energy conference held in Paphos, Cyprus, on Thursday, Matthew Bruyza, a senior executive at Turcas Petrol and a former U.S. diplomat, said the pipeline could transport 16 billion cubic meters of gas from Leviathan to the southern Turkish ports of Cekisan or Mersin.

Bruyza said the pipeline would be an attractive venture, despite the political risks arising from the strained relations between Israel and Turkey. He 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.”

Globes said 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 now on hold pending a ruling from Israel’s High Court over the cabinet’s decision to export up to 40% of Israel’s gas reserves. The next High Court hearing on the subject is in October, Globes said.

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Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau said last year that exports could begin within five years but “Israel would need to secure gas for domestic use for 30-40 years” before allowing exports. According to Landau, if Israel decides to export natural gas, it would sell at least 5-7 billion cubic meters annually. The two large gas fields off Israel’s coast, Tamar and the larger Leviathan, are expected to contain approximately 27 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Leviathan could be operational in 2015, and dramatically change Israel’s energy landscape. Meanwhile, the Israeli oil industry is also reporting new finds.

Yesterday’s presentation was the first public description of the Turcas pipeline plan, Globes said, adding that many Israeli executives from the oil industry heard Bruyza’s presentation at the conference.

In Turkey, most of the exported Leviathan gas would be for domestic use, and any remaining fuel would make its way to Europe via Greece. The shortest route for the gas pipeline passes through Cyprus’s economic zone, bypassing areas controlled by Syria.

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