CHICAGO: The peace accords that Israel has signed with the UAE and Bahrain will serve as a foundation to expand energy trade, US Energy Secretary Daniel Brouillette said on Tuesday.
The Trump administration is moving quickly to invite other Arab nations — including Oman, Sudan, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and Jordan — to partner with Israel to expand its Trans-Israel Pipeline (TIPline) to carry oil and include other energy resources, Brouillette added.
The pipeline extends from the Gulf of Aqaba in southern Israel to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon just north of the Gaza Strip.
The TIPline was built in 1968, originally in partnership with the shah of Iran, to sidestep oil deliveries through the Suez Canal. Israel later worked with Russia to supply oil to Asian countries.
“There has been some good work done … on the movement of gas throughout the region between Israel and Egypt,” Brouillette said.
“We think there are some opportunities … for the movement of both crude oil and perhaps other products in that pipeline (TIPline).”
Bouillette said the exchange between Israel and its Arab neighbors could also include other energy sources, adding: “We do think there are some opportunities with regard to the movement of electricity.”
He spoke of “the enormous opportunity that we have for … the development of hydrogen and movement of hydrogen throughout the region. There seems to be a fair amount of interest in those technologies as well.”
Brouillette said the Abraham Accords signed by Israel, the UAE and Bahrain will allow the expansion of agreements with other Arab countries to begin in January.
He said he could not speculate on what “any new administration that might come down the road” might do, but he expects the progress to continue.
“I know Egypt has a great relationship with Israel. They’ve conducted some conversations under an organization called the EasternMed Gas Forum. We expect those types of conversations will continue,” he added.
The US goal and interest is to “produce energy and make it available to the region, but also to create economic opportunities for Egypt, for Israel, for others who wish to provide natural gas or perhaps crude oil to the others in the world,” he said.
Brouillette added that his department is exploring expanding renewable energy discussions throughout the Middle East, Europe and Asia. He said the Abraham Accords include an energy agreement to pursue these goals.