Israel and Turkey are to start feasibility studies on an ambitious energy pipeline project to connect them with Russia and which could be further extended in the Middle East and Asia.
The agreement was sealed in Ankara talks between Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler.
The plan is for a pipeline system under the Mediterranean to carry oil, natural gas, electricity, water and fibre optics from southern Turkey to Israel.
Mr Ben Eliezer said the £6.4m feasibility studies are expected to be completed within 10 months, with construction likely to take three years.
He said Israel was close to an agreement with Russia for providing natural gas. Turkey has already built a pipeline underneath the Black Sea which provides natural gas to their domestic market. Mr Ben Eliezer also disclosed that Azerbaijan is interested in using the projected pipeline via Turkey to ship oil to Asian markets.
The pipeline system would connect Turkey’s port of Ceyhan to Ashkelon and be extended to Eilat for shipping oil and gas to India and other Asian markets.
The pipeline could carry 40 million tonnes of oil a year, and Israeli and Turkish officials plan to meet soon with their Indian counterparts for trıpartite co-operation on energy.
“Turkey sees the project as an initiative that will contribute not only to strengthen economic ties but also to promote peace and stability in the region,’’ Mr Guler said.