Greece, Cyprus and Italy sign deal with Israel to build world’s longest gas pipeline

Greece, Cyprus and Italy sign deal with Israel to build world’s longest gas pipeline 1

Greece, Cyprus and Italy sign deal with Israel to build world’s longest gas pipeline 2

Greece, Italy, and Cyprus have reached a $7 billion agreement with Israel to lay a pipeline connecting Jerusalem’s gas reserves to the three countries, in a major project that will supply gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

The underwater pipeline project is set to provide a conduit for Eastern Mediterranean gas to reach the European Union market. The initiative comes as Europe is seeking to diversify its energy needs beyond its largest suppliers, Russia, the Gulf states and Iran.

While the EU reportedly invested $100 million to determine the feasibility of the venture, the sides believe that work on the pipeline will begin in a few months’ time and take five years to complete.

Beginning about 100 miles off Cyprus’ southern coast, the estimated 1,350-mile-long channel will transport 706 billion cubic feet of gas per year to Otranto, Italy, via Crete and the Greek mainland, making it the longest and deepest underwater pipeline in the world.

Oded Eran, an expert on Israel’s energy resources at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told media that Turkey and Egypt previously supplied gas to the EU but are today considered unstable sources, while Israel is viewed as a reliable partner.

“This pipeline is a very difficult project technically, and it is the least desirable from a financial perspective. I wonder if this pipeline venture will ever emerge as a practical solution to exporting gas to the continent.”

“But if other gas producers in the Eastern Mediterranean such as Lebanon and Egypt would be willing to participate in the same pipeline, that would become a very important geostrategic and economic venture.”

“For decades, we have complained about the Arab influence in Europe due to oil and gas. The export of gas to Europe will moderate this influence to a certain extent and be a counterweight to Arab power,” said Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz.