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Israel, Cyprus and Greece mull over energy pacts for regional gas

September 4, 2023 at 2:40 pm

A picture taken on April 23, 2012 shows the headquarters of the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) in Cairo, whose chief said the accord with the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), which exports the gas to Israel, was cancelled “because the company failed to respect conditions stipulated in the contract” [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/GettyImages]

Israel, Cyprus and Greece pledged on Monday to deepen their energy cooperation and explore ways to get East Mediterranean gas to Europe, as well as connect electricity grids, Reuters has reported. Major gas discoveries have been made in the eastern Mediterranean in the past decade, mostly off the coasts of Israel and Egypt, with interest rising since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hit flows to Europe.

“We will have to decide soon about how Israel exports its gas and the same decisions have to be made by Cyprus,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in Nicosia after a tripartite summit with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides. “We are looking at the possibility of cooperating on this.” Those decisions, added Netanyahu, are likely to be made in the next three to six months. “Probably closer to three months.”

Earlier this year, Cyprus suggested expediting the supply of gas to the European market by the creation of a short pipeline linking Israel’s east Mediterranean gas fields to a liquefaction facility on Cyprus, prior to being shipped to Europe.

“We agree that natural gas and renewable energy is a prime pillar of cooperation in the region, especially in light of the recent geopolitical developments,” said Christodoulides. “Especially in Europe [it] dictates the need for energy diversification and increased interconnectivity.”

Netanyahu pointed out that Israel was also “eagerly pursuing” being part of a planned subsea electricity link, the EuroAsia Interconnector. The EU-supported subsea cable is envisaged to carry up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity to link grids from Israel and Cyprus to Greece. “We would like to have it connected obviously to Israel, and possibly to the east of Israel,” added the Israeli leader.

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