November 29, 2022
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics
Natural gas has played an increasingly important role in both Egypt’s and Israel’s economies over the past 20 years, and both consumption and production have grown substantially in those countries. Egypt’s and Israel’s natural gas delivery systems have become increasingly interdependent in terms of using Egypt’s LNG export infrastructure and natural gas feedstock. Egypt has two operating liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, which both countries use to export natural gas, according to our updated Eastern Mediterranean Energy profile. Although both countries export some natural gas, growth in domestic use of natural gas over the past 20 years has limited the volume of natural gas available for export. A number of recent discoveries, however, may make more natural gas available for export in the future.
Natural gas production increased in Egypt starting in 2017, when the Zohr field began operating. Natural gas production from this field was 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per year in 2021, according to its field operator, Eni. According to our energy profile, natural gas production in Egypt totaled 2.45 Tcf in 2021.
Israel is the second-largest natural gas producer in the Eastern Mediterranean region, after Egypt. Natural gas production in Israel began growing in 2013 when the Tamar field began production. Since then, several more natural gas fields have begun production. In 2021, natural gas production in Israel totaled 626 billion cubic feet (Bcf).
Two LNG export terminals are located in Egypt, one at Damietta (SEGAS LNG) and one at Idku (Egyptian LNG). The two export terminals allow Egypt and Israel to export natural gas to international destinations, including Europe and Asia.
Increased domestic consumption of natural gas in both countries has outpaced production growth. Our data show that in 2021, Egypt consumed 87% of the 2.45 Tcf of the natural gas it produced. In some years, demand exceeded domestic natural gas production, making natural gas imports necessary to meet demand. Israel has historically consumed a smaller share of its domestic natural gas production compared with Egypt or Turkey. Natural gas consumption in Israel, however, has gradually increased since 2012 because of more demand for natural gas in the electric power and industrial sectors. In 2021, Israel consumed 67% of the 626 Bcf of natural gas it produced.
Natural gas discoveries in Cyprus and Israel over the past decade that have not yet started production could increase production and export capacity.
In Israel, the Karish discoveries and the development of subsequent phases of the Leviathan and Tamar fields could provide a substantial increase in production once brought online.
Several natural gas discoveries have also been made in Cyprus with promising preliminary estimates. These discoveries are still being evaluated and appraised, and commercial production, if initiated, is not likely to begin until the 2030s.
Principal contributors: Kimberly Peterson, Eric Han