Greece, Italy, and Cyprus have reached an agreement with Israel to lay a pipeline connecting the Jewish state’s gas reserves to the three countries, the Israeli media has reported.
The major project, estimated at costing over €6.2b, will supply gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe, as the continent seeks to diversify its energy supply.
According to Hadashot TV, the European Union agreed to invest $100 million in a feasibility study for the project before the agreement was reached over the laying of the longest and deepest underwater gas pipeline in the world.
As part of the agreement, Israel and Cyprus will be granted preference over other countries in exporting gas to the European market, according to the report.
The EastMed Pipeline Project is to start about 170 km off Cyprus’ southern coast and stretch for 2,200 km to reach Otranto, Italy, via Crete and the Greek mainland, it said.
The pipeline will have the capacity to carry up to 20 billion cubic metres of gas yearly. Europe’s gas import needs are projected to increase by 100 billion cubic metre annually by 2030.
Work on the project is expected to begin within a few months, and to conclude within five years, Hadashot TV reported.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Hadashot it could temper Arab influence in Europe.
Last December, Steinitz said a study on the project showed that the link is feasible, even though it presents technical challenges due to the depths involved and has an estimated cost of €6.2b.