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Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:3AM
A natural gas drilling rig (file photo)

A natural gas drilling rig (file photo)

Egyptian geologist Khaled Odeh says Israel has taken over two natural gas wells located in Egypt’s territorial waters. Odeh said in Cairo on Monday that the wells are located in the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Cyprus, IRNA reported. He added that Israel took advantage of Egyptian officials’ inaction and started drilling operations in the area in April 2012. Odeh also stated that the wells are over gas fields containing about $100 billion worth of gas reserves. One of the wells is 19 kilometers north of the Egyptian city of Damietta and 235 kilometers west of Haifa in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the other well is 114 kilometers north of Damietta and 237 kilometers from the shores of Palestine. The issue of supplying gas to Israel has always been a contentious topic for Egyptians, who view Israel as an enemy and oppose engaging in any form of business with it. According to a $2.5 billion export deal with Tel Aviv, signed in 2005, Israel receives around 40 percent of its gas supply from Egypt at an extremely low price. Relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv have deteriorated since last year's revolution that overthrew former dictator Hosni Mubarak, a long-time and staunch ally of Israel. AS/HGL
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