Greece, Cyprus and Israel on Thursday signed a deal to build a 1,900 km (1,180 mile) subsea pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean’s rapidly developing gas fields to Europe.
Although Turkey opposes the project, the countries aim to reach a final investment decision by 2022 and have the pipeline completed by 2025 to help Europe diversify its energy resources.
European governments and Israel last year agreed to proceed with the so-called EastMed project, a $6 to $7 billion pipeline project that is expected initially to carry 10 billion cubic metres of gas per year from Israeli and Cypriot waters to the Greek island of Crete, on to the Greek mainland and into Europe’s gas network via Italy.
The energy ministers of Greece, Israel and Cyprus – Kostis Hatzidakis, Yuval Steinitz and Yiorgos Lakkotrypis – signed the final agreement on the pipeline at a ceremony in Athens.
Last month a Turkish official said there was no need to build the EastMed pipeline because the trans-Anatolian pipeline already existed.
“Why should we bury 8 billion euros in the Mediterranean, through Turkey’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone? If we do not allow that what will happen? So this is an issue and we need an original solution to oil and gas around Cyprus,” the official said.
Mitsotakis stressed that the EastMed project “is not a threat to anyone,” – widely seen as a reference to Turkey whose exploration for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean has ramped up tensions with neighboring states.