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22 June, 2024
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Nicosia begs to differ with ENI boss on EastMed

Cypriot energy minister tells Italian petroleum that other energy companies could bypass Turkey


The Cypriot government says it does not share views on EastMed gas made by ENI boss Claudio Descalzi, who told Italian lawmakers an eastern Mediterranean gas project cannot go forward without Turkey, with Nicosia begging to differ and pointing to other companies willing to take the risk.

Energy Minister George Papanastasiou on Saturday said there were many companies that could move forward with an EastMed gas solution without Turkish consent.

Papanastasiou made a statement to the Cyprus News Agency in response to comments by Descalzi days earlier, when the CEO of the Italian state-controlled company told lawmakers in Rome that he doubted Cyprus, Greece, and Israel would ever agree on a natural gas pipeline to Europe without Turkey’s participation.

The issue at hand was originally an undersea pipeline that would transfer natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean through Greece to Europe while bypassing Turkey, but Nicosia recently revised the language on the ambitious project.

'The decision how this pipeline will actually be implemented certainly touches on geopolitical issues, where according to Mr. Descalzi's judgment Turkey's agreement is needed, a view we do not share'

Papanastasiou has clarified a proposed subsea pipeline would connect gas pools between Cyprus and Israel, with the island vying to be a hub where liquefied natural gas would be transported by LNG ships to Europe through what he called an "East Med corridor.”

"The decision on how this pipeline will actually be implemented will be based on a techno-economic study, certainly it touches on geopolitical issues, where according to Mr. Descalzi's judgment Turkey's agreement is needed, a view which we as a government do not share," Papanastasiou said.

Last week the Israeli government approved a pipeline project that would boost natural gas export to Egypt.

Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said the recent decision for a state-owned company to build the pipeline “increases the potential for cooperation between Israel and Egypt in the field of natural gas in preparation for decisions on exports that will have to be made soon.”

Nicosia hopes to be included in the regional arrangements through a similar pipeline, the East Med corridor, which would support both natural gas for electricity production for domestic use on the island as well as shipping LNG to Europe and other parts of the world.

“This can be done either through a pipeline, as in the case of East Med, or through the solution recently proposed by Cyprus and adopted by Israel,” Papanastasiou said.

The Cypriot minister emphasized an undersea pipeline linking Cyprus with Israel would be phase one without dismissing the idea of a phase two in the future, referring to Nicosia’s ideal top choice to send gas underwater to Greece.

"What we are proposing with the new alternative is essentially an East Med, the first phase of which ends in Cyprus and until it is implemented, provided that the implementation can justified technically and financially, then it stops at liquefaction and then it is turned back to the pipeline, which is probably unlikely since liquefaction would take place in Cyprus and the LNG can be transported to any market, while the pipeline will only end at one point," Papanastasiou said.

Cyprus  |  Italy  |  Turkey  |  energy  |  natural gas  |  ENI  |  Papanastasiou  |  Descalzi  |  East Med  |  pipeline  |  Israel  |  Egypt

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