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Two Israeli energy giants have announced plans to jointly develop major renewable energy projects in the MIddle East and North Africa, as the country works to normalize relations with former enemies.
Israel’s NewMed, former Delek Drilling–the company behind the giant discoveries of gas in the Levant Basin–and Enlight Energy plant to launch a renewable energy “revolution” across the region, highlighting Saudi Arabia and Oman, two countries with which Israel has not normalized relations formally, the Israeli Times reports.
The companies are also targeting Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt and Jordan.
Two years ago, the US brokered the Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize relations with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. Israel also signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the UAE. There has been no official normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia or Oman, though Israeli media describes relations as “warm” and “covert”.
On Wednesday, Israel also formally normalized relations with Turkey, which has strong ties to the MENA region.
In June, Israel and Egypt, who have gas export agreements already in place, signed another deal with the European Union to increase gas exports to the bloc as an alternative to Russian gas.
NewMed and Enlight are planning a lineup of projects across MENA, including solar, wind and energy storage. NewMed is a veteran developer of natural resources, having discovered the giant Tamar and Leviathan gas fields offshore Israel as Delek. Enlight, by contrast, develops and finances clean energy projects globally.
“Just as we have brought the gas revolution to the countries of the region, so we will strive to bring the renewable energy revolution,” the Israeli Times quoted NewMed Energy CEO Yossi Abu as saying.
Israel’s normalization of relations with MENA countries comes as a result of its newfound potential for energy independence thanks to massive gas developments in the Mediterranean, which also give it far more leverage for establishing diplomatic ties.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com