Jordan, Israel Weigh Gas Deal


jordans-king-abdullah-iiJordan has been holding talks to become the first country to buy natural gas from Israel. A deal would offer Jordan a cheap energy source and relieve a painful energy crisis. Two years of supply shortages from Egypt’s pipeline to Jordan have spurred a 50% rise in the cost of cooking gas and higher electricity rates, prompting anti-government demonstrations in October.

“Jordan is in the most immediate need and would be the first client” for Israel, said Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and now a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. “Stability in Jordan is of strategic significance to Israel.” Eran said a link to Jordan could be established “relatively quickly” by extending a pipeline several miles across the Dead Sea from an Israel Chemicals plant powered by gas. Officials are also discussing a separate pipeline to run from the Mediterranean through the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel to Beit Shean and then into Jordan.

“The cheapest option is for Jordan to obtain natural gas from Israel,” said Amit Mor, president of Eco Energy Ltd., an Israeli energy consultancy, “but Jordan has yet to make a geopolitical decision to buy gas from Israel.” “A direct bilateral deal is very scary for many people,” said Daoud Kuttab, an Amman-based political analyst.

{ Israel News Bureau}