On 31 August, a bilateral agreement was signed by Cyprus and Egypt. The agreement will allow the transportation of natural gas through an underwater pipeline, from Cyprus to Egypt.
Tarek el-Molla, Egypt's Petroleum Minister, stated: "This is part of the development of the east Mediterranean gas as a whole, and I think our strategy optimally is to position ourselves as an energy hub in the region.”
Previously, Cyprus was considering a route through Turkey. However, Cyprus would have had to consent to a pipeline running from Israel and passing through the Cypriot region before ending in Turkey, i.e. via the Turkey-Israel pipeline.
But, as a result (of ongoing political disputes), Cyprus believes exporting to Egypt is more feasibly than Turkey.
Zenonas Tziarras, a lecturer the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus, explained why Egypt will be a more beneficial route for the pipeline.
"Egypt is a better option in terms of feasibility and building a pipeline or using the Egyptian LNG [facility]; it’s also politically better … I see [the Cyprus-Egypt deal] as a political move. On the one hand, it’s evidence of Cyprus trying to deepen its relations with other countries in the region – Israel and Egypt – with the intention of exploiting its gas reserves. On the other hand, it’s a response to what has been happening between Turkey and Israel. This has prompted Cyprus to seek an energy deal to counterbalance the Turkey-Israel deal or as a bargaining chip in the negotiations."
Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Cyprus’s Energy Minister, commented that the first flow of natural gas through the pipeline will commence between 2020 and 2022.
Edited from various sources by Stephanie Roker
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/31082016/cyprus-and-egypt-sign-pipeline-agreement/