PA does not want Israeli partner to develop gas field off Gaza coast

Middle East Monitor  /  February 12, 2020

The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority’s Investment Fund, Mohammed Mustafa, said on Tuesday that there is no plan to develop a gas field off the coast of Gaza in cooperation with an Israeli partner, Anadolu has reported.

Mustafa said that an Israeli partner had been proposed for years, but was rejected as the PA prefers an international partner.

He pointed out that Israel, as the occupying power, controls the security of Palestinian territorial waters to “facilitate” the development of the gas plant, known as Gaza Marine.

Israel thus has to allow the equipment needed for developing Gaza Marine into the Gaza Strip or into the Palestinian waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

According to Mustafa, the PA has an international company involved to make sure that the gas reserves are still there. “We are sure that they are still there.”

Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz said last month, during an energy summit in Cairo, that there were discussions between his government and the Palestinians in order to supply what they need from natural gas sources, as well as to develop Gaza Marine.

The field lies 36km off the Gaza coast, and was the first natural gas reserve to be discovered in the east of the Mediterranean in the 1990s.

Full development of the field has not been possible due to obstacles placed in the way by the Israeli occupation and siege of the Gaza Strip.