At a press conference in Tel Aviv today, the Israeli, Cypriot, Greek, and Italian energy ministers expressed unanimous strong support for exporting natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to Europe through the planned 1,300-kilometer undersea gas pipeline. Such a pipeline, if built, would be the world's longest such pipeline. They emphasized that the first stage of the pre-feed feasibility study had been completed successfully, and that it was now time to move to the second stage: a more detailed examination of the feasibility of the front-end engineering development.
Italian Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda said, "For us, a supply of natural gas is critical, because Italy is the second largest producer in Europe, and we have to look ahead in how to make the transition from the use of coal. Ensuring a supply of gas is at the heart of our future strategic energy plan that we'll announce next week. The importance we attribute to the supply of gas is one of the reasons why this project is a supreme priority for us… and constitutes one of the pillars of our energy strategy in the coming decades. Our interest is also because Italian company Edison is involved in the preliminary research for the pipeline project, and the initial data it reported indicate clearly show that the project is technologically and economically possible. Now we have to accelerate the process in order to verify that this is correct.
"It will take time, but decisions have to be taken by the end of the year, because we have to know whether we can rely on a supply of gas from here to Italy. Next week, we'll host the G7 summit, and present the project there… We won't use gas only to produce electricity, but also for transportation. In Italy, we have the most substantial number of gas-powered cars."
Greek Energy and Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis said, "Greece was committed from the beginning to diversifying both the sources of energy and the gas routes, while at the same time taking seriously the question of ensuring a continuous supply. As a transit country, and because of our geographic location, Greece plays a key role in in the process of diversifying sources, and we have supported a number of projects in this area. In the EastMed pipeline project, we supported the Poseidon project (which is carrying out the feasibility study for the project, N.Y.), shared equally by Greek and Italian companies, because we very much believe in the project.
"We also must emphasize the fact that Greece is stepping up its development of its gas sector, which is becoming an important element in its energy mix. We will be able to provide Israel with very reliable export possibilities. Keep in mind also that Greece has the potential to become a producing country committed to developing the resources in its economic waters."
Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that his country had a "two-faceted" role in the project, as both a transit country and a future producer. "For this reason, we are willing to work with our colleagues to promote the agreement between the governments. We believe that this project can create an additional corridor (gas supply, N.Y.) to Europe," he stated.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on April 3, 2017
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