Israel’s Delek Drilling said it has completed testing of a subsea natural gas pipeline to Egypt, but it did not begin commercial sales by the end of June as it had initially hoped.
Delek Drilling and its partner Noble Energy signed a landmark deal early last year to export $15 billion in natural gas from Israeli offshore fields Tamar and Leviathan to a customer in Egypt.
Israeli officials called it the most significant deal to emerge since the neighbors made peace in 1979.
Delek Drilling Deputy CEO Yossi Gvura told Reuters in early June that they hoped to start selling small quantities of gas to Egypt by the end of the month, but the company said July 2 exports had not yet begun.
Due to the forecast demand for gas in Israel over the summer, the company expects commercial sales to Egypt to begin only when the Leviathan Field comes online by year-end 2019.
Delek and Noble have agreed to buy into the EMG gas pipeline between Ashkelon in Israel and El-Arish in Egypt to transport the gas supplies. Now that the technical examination of the pipeline is complete, Delek expects to close the EMG deal by Aug. 31.
The contract will extend by 20 years the current contract with the same companies that will expire in late 2023.
The company plans to start Aerfugl production in first-half 2020, three years ahead of what had originally been billed as the field’s second phase.
The new deadline applies to the second bid round for onshore and offshore blocks that the state energy firm launched last May, a spokesman told Reuters.