Israel’s relations with Egypt have improved over the last 12 months as mutual interest – both on the energy and security fronts (MEES, 31 August) – has brought the former adversaries together. The recent founding of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in which the two countries cooperate is perhaps the most concrete evidence yet that shared energy interests could thaw frigid political relations (MEES, 15 March 2019).

Firms operating in the East Med are beginning to catch wind, and doing business with both Cairo and Tel Aviv is no longer as tricky as before. US firm, and key player in Israeli upstream, Noble Energy is in talks to take Egyptian acreage (MEES, 15 February 2019), and as MEES reported last week, a cross border deal between Italy’s Edison and Israeli firm Ratio could see the latter become the first Israeli firm to hold upstream stakes in Egypt (MEES, 22 March 2019). Approval from Cairo remains an obstacle, but Edison and Ratio clearly rate their chances of securing the rubber stamp. (CONTINUED - 1766 WORDS)