"East-Med" pipeline agreement signed: allows natural gas exported from Israel and Cyprus to Europe

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Jan 2, 2020

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a summit in Athens on Thursday with the Greek Prime Minister and Cyprus President, which aims to advance an agreement on laying the gas pipeline between the countries. Netanyahu said at the ceremony that it was "a historic day for Israel because Israel is rapidly becoming an energetic power." During the trilateral summit between Netanyahu, Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiadis, and Greek Prime Minister Kiryakos Mitsotakis - the seventh summit to be held - an "East-Med" gas pipeline agreement was signed to allow natural gas to be exported from Israel and Cyprus to Europe.
The Eastmead project includes a strategic gas pipeline, approximately 1,900 kilometers long (of which approximately 550 km onshore and approximately 1,350 km nautical), which will allow the export of natural gas found in the economic waters of Israel and Cyprus to Europe. The pipeline will allow the entire eastern Mediterranean basin to be connected to one export system. The countries promoting the project are Israel, Greece, Cyprus and Italy.
The pipeline is initially planned for a capacity of 10 BCM per year, with the possibility of doubling this capacity. The estimated cost of the project by the developer is estimated at about EUR 6 billion. The project examines the economic, commercial and physical feasibility of the project by the EU-supported IGI Poseidon SA, which defined the project as part of a list of projects of common interest (PCI).
According to Netanyahu at the ceremony, "We opened the whale's gas field a few days ago and it brings us huge outputs. But with the exports made possible through this pipeline, we can give billions of revenue to Israeli citizens, for their welfare, to health. It strengthens peace, it strengthens the economy, it Strengthens the future. " PM Olmert explained: "It is also a historic day because there is a growing cooperation here between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, a real alliance in the Mediterranean which is also economic and also political and it also adds to the security and stability of the region, not against anyone but for the sake of the values ​​and Citizens of our countries. "
"It's a very big change," Netanyahu said. "Israel has always been an edge state, a state that actually had no connections, in fact, and now - in addition to our foreign relations that flourish beyond imagination - we also have a specific alliance for these important goals in the Middle East."
The President of Cyprus said at the ceremony: "With the signature, we confirm that the cooperation we have developed is not only limited to blank letters, but is intended to promote strategic and regional projects and contribute to peace and stability. No wonder the EU has decided to implement feasibility studies. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the tripartite cooperation is of joint strategic value. Designed to promote peace in a turbulent area. " He added: "Cooperation is based on international law and honest dialogue between countries, it is not against anyone nor against a third state, on the contrary. Each country is invited to join provided it respects our territorial sovereignty and rights. "
The Greek Prime Minister said in his speech at the summit that "the United States supports this pipeline. We have signed a good agreement which means strategic cooperation in an area that needs security and peace. The pipe line does not go against anyone, it is not a threat against anyone. The cooperation is open to anyone who respects international law. Eastmed is a line for the peace of all countries of the region. " Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz said after the ceremony: "This cooperation will strengthen relations between the states, will be a milestone in creating a center of natural gas in the Middle East and will make the State of Israel a significant player in the European energy economy."
Prior to the ceremony, Netanyahu met with Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiadis and the two discussed strengthening relations between the countries in a number of areas including energy, domestic security, economy, tourism and more. The meeting was also attended by Minister Steinitz and the Minister of Energy of Cyprus George Kotreipis. Tomorrow, Friday, Netanyahu will visit his wife and son, Avner, in Acropolis, which will be closed especially for him, according to the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Mitzotakis.
The preliminary examination of the project showed that it was technically, economically and commercially feasible. An in-depth examination of the pipeline's onshore and offshore route, a detailed maritime survey and obtaining the necessary approvals, is underway to reach a final investment decision within two years and complete the pipeline's construction by 2025. For the planning process, the company and the European Union allocated 35 million euros each - a total of 70 million euros.
The agreement for the first time brings together the four countries: Israel, Greece, Cyprus and Italy under the auspices of the European Union. The countries wish to sponsor and support the ambitious project of constructing a pipeline to transport natural gas from Israel, through Cyprus and Greece, and from there to the European market. Today, Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed the agreement, with Italy expected to sign at a later date.
Under the agreement, the states undertake to cooperate to enable the project to be established in all areas and levels. The agreement states that the natural gas source countries will be Israel and Cyprus. The states also agreed that other countries could be included in the project with the consent of all the founding countries. The istamed pipe is the longest and deepest gas pipe in the world. In some parts, the depth of the seabed along the pipeline route is three kilometers, and the pipeline passes between mountains and underwater valleys.
Apart from the operational difficulties, the project is also subject to political controversy, due to Turkey's opposition to laying the pipeline. Turkish officials have warned that Ankara will not allow Israel to pipe a gas pipeline from its natural gas reservoirs to Cyprus and Greece without Turkish consent.

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