Egypt expects to start receiving natural gas from Israel in mid-2019, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla, said during the CERAWeek conference. Due to unexpected issues in the pipeline connecting Egypt to Israel, the two countries decided to delay gas transport, sources familiar with the subject told Bloomberg.

The companies involved in the $15 billion gas deal revealed the issues in the pipeline will need more work than what was initially planned to start transporting natural gas. Work is carried out to reverse the flow of the pipeline, which was previously used to export Egyptian gas to Israel.

Trial quantities were planned to be received in March 2019 in case the pipeline did not have any issues, according to the Egyptian partner in the deal.

The current pipeline has an annual carrying capacity of 2 to 3 billion cubic meters (bcm). However, the Delek-led consortium is contracted to sell 3.5 bcm/y to Egypt under the terms of the agreement signed by Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings in February 2018.

It was reported in November that Israel’s domestic pipeline infrastructure does not have the capacity to transfer the contracted quantities of natural gas from Tamar and Leviathan fields to Egypt.

Talks over the construction of a new sub-sea gas pipeline reportedly began in January, in order to directly deliver additional volumes from the Israeli offshore fields to Egypt’s liquefied natural gas plants, as Egypt is transforming into a regional energy hub and a center for gas re-export.