European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (back) looks on as EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson (L), Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla(C), and Israeli Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar (R) sign a trilateral natural gas deal at the ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) in Cairo on June 15, 2022. – Israel and Egypt plan to boost gas exports to Europe under an agreement signed on June 15 during a Cairo visit by the European Commission president as the bloc seeks to wean itself off Russian gas. Ursula von der Leyen also pledged relief worth 100 million euros ($104 million) for food security in Egypt, which has been reeling from grain shortages as a result of the Ukraine war. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

The European Union has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel and Egypt that paves the way for potentially significant quantities of Israeli natural gas to be shipped to Europe.

The trilateral agreement, signed on June 15 in Cairo at a meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), an intergovernmental organization, calls for Israeli gas to be sent to liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Egypt. From there, the gas in liquid form will be transported across the Mediterranean Sea on LNG vessels to markets in Europe.

Initially, the volumes of Israeli gas sent to Europe will be relatively low due to a combination of factors, including infrastructure limitations, the high costs of producing and shipping LNG, and the politics of climate change and clean energy. Over time, however, the agreement could spur new investment in gas exploration and infrastructure in Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel and potentially transform the Eastern Mediterranean into an energy powerhouse.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the agreement as “a big step forward in the energy supply to Europe” and “the first step leading to a Mediterranean-wide agreement.”

Read the rest