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“The end of the EastMed pipeline?”

Francesco Sassi, a Research Fellow Energy Geopolitics & Markets at Ricerche Industriali ed Energetiche in Bologna, discusses how Cyprus has announced the plan for linking its major gas reservoirs to Israel’s east Mediterranean gas fields.

He comments:

“It seems both Israeli PM Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides back the project, talks are to start by July 2023.  Could this be the end of the EastMed pipeline?

Proposals by the new centrist Cypriot government, in power since March, represent a markedly different approach to its predecessors.
Rather than the 2,000 km EastMed pipeline to continental Europe, the new government is proposing a much shorter one linking Cyprus to fields off Israel.

Once in Cyprus, the gas could be converted to LNG and shipped to🇪🇺customers, such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Croatia.”

The Cypriot Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said his new plan “It’s a win-win,” and offers significant benefits compared to the EastMed pipeline, including a faster construction, given the shorter 300 km route compared to EastMed and the possibility to avoid major technical challenges, considering the laying of a pipeline at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

Partners are also willing to develop an hydrogen-ready pipeline, with governments winking at🇪🇺institutions. This would make the project eligible for EBRD and EIB financing, while securing a connection between the vast unexploited reserves offshore Cyprus, Israel 🇱and possibly Egypt, realising the strategic partnership agreed last year in Cairo.

The idea of connecting Cypriot and Israeli offshore fields is certainly not new. However, Tel Aviv’s assertive posture, including the recent decision to exploit the Gaza Marine field, just 30 km off the coast of🇵🇸Palestine, shows that🇮🇱is willing to play at its best gas diplomacy in the area.

On the other hand, a Cypriot and Israeli deal could be a mortal blow for the hope of developing the EastMed Pipeline,
connecting the fields in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to🇬🇷and🇮🇹 through a 10 bcm/y EastMed-Poseidon pipeline.

Edison, developing the project, said it could be ready by 2027. Just a few weeks ago, Edison declared its intention to take the final investment decision on the EastMed-Poseidon pipeline by the end of 2023.”

He concludes:

“Could the Israeli and Cypriot strategies undermine both the Italian and Turkish attempts to become gas hubs?”



Picture copyright: 

Randam, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons