JERUSALEM, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel started exporting natural gas to Egypt on Wednesday in a landmark deal between the two countries, Israeli and Egyptian energy ministries said.
The energy ministries in the two countries issued a joint statement, saying that "the flow of natural gas from Israel to Egypt has begun. This is an important development that will serve the economic interests of both parties."
The commercial gas flow is being supplied through a subsea pipeline from Israel's offshore Leviathan natural gas reservoir to Egypt.
Then, gas will also be supplied to Egypt from Israel's smaller Tamar natural gas reservoir.
Under the deal, Dolphinus Holdings, a private company in Egypt, will buy 85 billion cubic meters of gas for about 19.5 billion U.S. dollars from Israel's Leviathan and Tamar over 15 years.
According to the Israeli and Egyptian energy ministries, the move "will also allow Israel to export some of its natural gas to Europe through Egypt's liquefied natural gas facilities and promote Egypt's status as a regional gas market."
Leviathan is a huge 622-billion-cubic meter gas reservoir that was found off Israel's Mediterranean coast in 2010.
Gas production in Tamar, a nearby smaller gas field, kicked off in March 2013.