Turkey and Israel are on the verge of finalising a deal for a natural gas pipeline between the two countries, according to media reports.
Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s Energy Minister, will visit Israel by the end of this year to conclude the agreement, Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz said, according to the Times of Israel.
“Hopefully, Mr. Albayrak will pay a visit to Israel this year in 2017, which will help us accelerate and try to conclude this agreement,” Steinitz said at the recent World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul after meeting Albayrak.
The move marks an improvement in relations between Turkey and Israel, following a rapprochement deal in June 2016 that helped repair a longstanding rift between the two countries. In 2010, Israeli authorities raided a Gaza ship sent by a Turkish charity. Clashes on the ship led to the deaths of nine Turkish activists.
Israel is looking to develop the Leviathan natural gas field, located in the Mediterranean Sea 47km of the country’s coast, in a bid to make the large gas field economically profitable, the Times of Israel claims.
Turkey, meanwhile, is largely dependent on foreign supplies to meet its energy needs, and is keen to diversify its sources.
“We want to build a pipeline stretching from Israel to Turkey in order to be able to export natural gas from Israel to Turkey,” Steinitz said. The Israeli energy minister added that by sending the gas to Turkey, it could be delivered throughout Europe.