The commercial viability study of the EastMed pipeline is not proceeding as planned because Turkey is "interfering with the Nautical Geo ship conducting environmental surveys," Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. The committee convened to discuss recent developments on the EastMed pipeline and the geopolitical importance and external dimension of the EuroAsia Interconnector project through which the electricity interconnection between Greece, Cyprus and Israel will be taking place.
At the same time, he said that Cyprus' attitude "has not changed on the need to wait for environmental sustainability, because of developments arising from the war in Ukraine". He also added "we are looking for other solutions", such as the immediate extraction of natural gas from the fields of Israel, Egypt and Cyprus.
The Cypriot government is planning a high-level meeting on the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on 14 October 2022 with the participation of the European Commissioner for Energy,
According to Kasoulides, Turkey stated that its new drilling rig would remain in the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, we (Cyprus) "can certainly expect harassment from either by drilling in what it considers its own continental shelf - blocks 4, 5, 6 - or to proceed to drill in the south of the Republic of Cyprus within the plots licensed to Eni and Total, in particular".
"This will be a much worse development for Turkey," he stressed.
He also said that the Poseidon company, which is part of the Italian company Edison, wants to change the route of the EastMed pipeline so that it can go over the border of the EEZ of Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus and proceed to Crete, bypassing the areas within Turkey's reach.
"The Cypriot government has not given its consent to the route change," he said, adding that "so far no investor has shown interest" in the project and "this is a bad development in terms of viability."
The Cypriot government is planning a high-level meeting on the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on 14 October 2022 with the participation of the European Commissioner for Energy, which will coincide with the ceremony for the onshore station from which EuroAsia's electricity supply will start going to Egypt.
The Foreign Minister concluded that should the pipeline fail to be viable, the electrical interconnection will be another environmentally friendly solution "because it uses the existing natural gas in the region to produce electricity".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Ankara has, on several occasions, sent its seismic research vessel ‘Barbaros’ to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), following the Republic of Cyprus’ decision in 2011 to start exploratory offshore drilling. After May 2019, two Turkish drill ships, “Fatih” and “Yavuz”, conducted unauthorized hydrocarbon drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, at times in areas licensed by Cyprus to international energy companies.