The Gaza Gas Pipeline is expected to improve the electricity capacity of the Gaza Strip. The project would double the current supply. It thus meets a critical need of Gazans who suffer from daily electricity shortages. A constraining situation accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, negotiations are taking place, under the mediation of Qatar, between Europeans, Israelis and Gazans for the realization of the project.
Gaza Gas Pipeline to improve energy supply
Increase the Gaza Strip’s electrical power to 400 MW
The Gaza pipeline would double the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip to 400 MW. Two contracts are under discussion. The first concerns the purchase of gas by the Palestinian Authority from the Israeli company Delek Group. This company also plans to set up the transport system. It will allow gas to be transported between the Gaza power plant and the Leviathan offshore power plant in Delek.
The construction of the pipelines is the subject of talks between the European Union (EU), the United Nations and Qatar. On Israeli soil, the Qatari state should take care of the assembly of the pipeline. On the Gaza side, the EU has planned to invest $5 million for the installation of infrastructure.
Qatar wants an agreement to be reached within 6 months, to complete the construction of the pipeline within two, two and a half years.
Solve supply and cost issues
Gaza has only one diesel-powered 60 MW plant. This fuel is very expensive. In fact, switching to gas would significantly reduce costs. This would reduce the annual bill from $22 million to $10 million.
Today, only 180 MW reaches the landlocked area, including 120 MW from ten Israeli power lines. But for B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO for the protection of human rights in the occupied territories, more is needed. 600 MW would be needed to cover the entire needs of the 2 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.
In addition, breakdowns are common. These can sometimes last 11 or 12 hours.
For a better access to water
The construction of this pipeline would also have other advantages. This would indeed reduce air pollution and also ensure a better operation of the Gaza desalination plant. At present, only 10.5% of Gazans have access to drinking water.
Negotiations in a tense context
Negotiations against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Relations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority remain complex. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007. This situation coincides with the coming to power of Hamas on the Palestinian side.
Last year, after Gaza sent incendiary balloons, Israel retaliated with air strikes. The Kerem Shalom goods crossing was closed and fuel deliveries were halted. As a result, the diesel power plant in Gaza could not be powered.
Qatar mediator and supporter of Hamas
The Qatari state positions itself as the defender of the Palestinian cause. Since 2018, with Israel’s permission, it has been economically supporting the Gaza Strip. In 2021, $360 million will be paid to Hamas to pay salaries and social benefits. It also provides the fuel needed to operate the diesel power plant ($7 million per month).
In parallel, Qatar and Israel is working to improve relations between the Hebrew state and the countries of the Persian Gulf. In fact, the negotiations around the Gaza gas pipeline are part of the normalization of these relations. In short, the easing of relations. And this, while improving the energy and health situation of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. It should also be noted that the territory will have to appoint its new deputies and its new president this year, a political battle between Fatah and Hamas.