The Israeli government may allow a British Gas project in the Mediterranean Sea off the shores of Gaza to proceed — despite the involvement of the Hamas government.
Dr Brenda Shaffer, a Haifa University energy policy expert, said that, although there are anxieties that funds generated by the project will reach Hamas, the move is in Israel’s interests because it would allow the Palestinians to convert the power station in Gaza from polluting diesel fuel to natural gas, and facilitate energy self-reliance in the Strip.
The offshore natural gas field discovered in 2000 is valued at around £2 billion and, despite the existence of a deal between the Palestinian Authority and British Gas for its development, the project has been stuck due to the ongoing split between Fatah and Hamas and Israeli objections.
In the past, Israel and Egypt have supplied Gaza with fuel for its power plant but disruptions in the supplies owing to attacks on the border crossings, and fuel shortages in Egypt, have brought about power cuts in Gaza.
British Gas was involved in exploring Israel’s Tamar gas field but pulled out of the project.