EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C), Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla (L) and Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Karine Elharrar pose for a photo after signing an agreement on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo on Wednesday. Photo by Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE
June 15 (UPI) -- Egypt, the European Union and Israel agreed to a natural gas deal Wednesday during a meeting in Cairo to halt dependence on Russian energy exports.
Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar signed the agreement after a trilateral meeting.
"This will contribute to our energy security," von der Leyen tweeted. And we are building infrastructure fit for renewables -- the energy of the future."
The deal increases will allow Israel to increase its gas output and export through existing pipelines to Egyptian ports. There it will be liquefied and sent to Europe, The Washington Post reported.
The memorandum of understanding "will allow Israel to export natural gas to Europe for the first time, and that is even more impressive when considering that significant agreements we have signed in the past year, making Israel and its energy and water market a key player in the world," Elharrar said.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the agreement is expected to be in place through at least 2030, and will be gradually dialed back until 2050.
Europe has faced a shortfall of energy supplies since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. The EU was previously Russia's largest customer.
"With the beginning of this war and the attempt of Russia to blackmail us through energy, by deliberately cutting off the energy supplies, we decided to cut off and to get rid of the dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and to move away from Russia and diversify to trustworthy suppliers," von der Leyen said at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday.
Von der Leyen also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday.
"We are also partnering with Egypt to improve our security of energy supply and advance towards our global climate goals," she tweeted after the meeting with al-Sisi. "As chair of COP27, Egypt will play an important role to keep the global community on track. You can count on my support for a successful COP27 in November."