"The Kremlin has used our dependency on Russian fossil fuels to blackmail us," she said, in a speech at the Ben Gurion University in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
The German politician, who has headed the European Union’s executive arm since 2019, spoke after being granted an honorary doctorate from the university.
"Since the beginning of the war, Russia has deliberately cut off its gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland, and Dutch and Danish companies, in retaliation for our support to Ukraine,” she said.
However, she added that Moscow’s conduct “strengthens our resolve to break free of our dependence on Russian fossil fuels.”
She further noted that the EU were exploring newer ways to improve their energy corporation with Israel with an underwater power cable and an eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline.
Israel to Europe via Egypt
While Israel exports gas to Egypt, which is in turn liquified and shipped across to Europe, a major increase in the export of gas will need significant long-term investments.
Speaking to the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resource, Karine Elharra, the EU executive reiterated the “EU need for Israeli gas.”
Elharra added that there has been conversation since March on the establishment of a legal framework to get more Israeli gas exports to Europe via Egypt.
Moreover, the EastMed project, a proposal to install a seafloor pipeline which links Cyprus to Greece would present itself as a viable option. However, US President Joe Biden’s Administration have questioned the project’s viability, owed to the large amount of time and financial resources attached to it.
While progress on the 1900 km long EastMed pipeline has been slow, the foreign ministers of the three countries, along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month held talks on moving the project forward, S&P Global reported.
There is also a proposal to construct a pipeline connecting Israel to Turkey.
Israel’s gas reserves are estimated at a minimum of one trillion cubic meters, with the expected domestic use over the next 30 years estimated to no more than 300 billion cubic meters.