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The Trump administration is pressing Israel to go ahead with a gas pipeline deal it signed with Jordan a few years ago, writes Israeli reporter Barak Ravid for Axios, citing Israeli and U.S. officials.
The deal has been frozen due to a rekindling of tensions between Tel Aviv and Amman resulting, apparently, from a division of opinions within the Netanyahu cabinet. Notably, the Israeli Prime Minister’s chief economic adviser, Avi Simhon, is a staunch opponent of the Red-Dead pipeline that will link the two seas, believing it is not worth the US$150 million to be invested. Of this, the United States has undertaken to provide US$100 million.
After the commitment made at the signing of the deal, Jordan reached out to the United States—a key partner of both parties to the initiative—to complain about Tel Aviv going back on its promise to build the pipeline, which is supposed to send natural gas worth US$10 billion to Jordan over 15 years. This would result in savings for Jordan’s state utility of US$300 million annually, the Times of Israel reports.
Some in Jordan, which has been suffering from recession for several years now, did not need much prompting to get out on the streets, protesting the normalization of bilateral relations with Israel. A news outlet reported that a Jordanian company had picked back up a sand cargo that was to be used in the construction of the pipeline, again in demonstration of its opposition to the normalization of Israeli-Jordanian relations.
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And yet work on the pipeline is already under way. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the pipeline should be completed by the end of next year, citing a Jordanian source: the director general of Jordan’s National Electric Power Company. The pipeline will source natural gas from the giant Leviathan field in the Mediterranean, which is the subject of controversy between Israel and its coastal neighbor Lebanon.
The Red-Dead pipeline is shaping up as the biggest infrastructure project in Jordan to date and will also be instrumental in the normalization of Israeli-Jordanian relations.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
The other pipeline is a much bigger and way more complex (as as of yet, proposed) project for a water pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea meant to increase the water level in the Dead Sea and generate electricity from the elavation differences which will be used to desalinate water.