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Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Israel sign up for pipeline

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World Pipelines,

Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Israel have signed up to a gas pipeline that would reduce EU dependency on Russia.

The proposed EastMed pipeline will ship up to 16 billion m3/y of gas a year from the Levantine Basin near Israel and Cyprus to Greece and Italy from 2025.

That amounts to just 5% of EU annual consumption, but it would offset the 100 billion m3/y a year that the EU buys from Russia.

IGI Poseidon, a joint venture by Italian firm Edison and Greek company Depa, is to build the 1900 km pipeline – the longest underwater one in the world – at a cost of over €4 billion.


The European Commission is to contribute up to €2 billion in the name of energy security.

The Cypriot, Greek, and Israeli energy ministers, and Italy's ambassador to Cyprus signed a memorandum of understanding on the EastMed project in Nicosia on Tuesday. They said they aimed to sign an intergovernmental agreement next year.

They also said it would "secure a direct long-term export route from Israel and Cyprus to Greece, Italy and other European markets … strengthening the EU's security of supply".

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said: "It looks like a fantasy, a dream, because there is no parallel, there is no such long and deep underwater gas pipeline in the world, and now, we can understand that this is possible, viable."

Cypriot energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said EastMed would be a "very important pillar" of EU energy supply.

The Greek minister, Giorgos Stathakis, said "today we are making a major step forward" in a project that would be "strategically very important for Europe".

“The project will secure a direct long-term export route from Israel and Cyprus to Greece, Italy and other European markets… thereby strengthening EU’s security of supply,” a joint statement said. It said the four states would also pool resources on studies for the construction and operation of the ambitious project, which is seen as technically and financially viable.

The pipeline to supply Europe with natural gas will be some 2000 km long, and is estimated to cost approximately €5 billion. It will have an annual capacity of 10 - 16 billion ft3, and could be completed by 2025.

The eastern Mediterranean has produced some of the world’s biggest gas finds in the past decade, and much of it is still thought to be untapped at a time Europe is looking to diversify its gas resources for reasons of energy security.

The four countries also said they would co-operate to facilitate studies, permits, construction and operation of the project, with a view to signing an Intergovernmental Agreement on the project “within 2018”, a joint statement said.

The planned pipeline will connect the Leviathan field via the Aphrodite field, Crete, mainland Greece and Italy.

It could become a more profitable venture if Israel and Cyprus discover additional major gas fields, thus lowering costs.


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