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Will Israel deliver natural gas both to EU and Turkey?

Energy ministers from Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, as well as the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, met yesterday in Tel Aviv to discuss an underwater natural gas pipeline which is expected to be the longest in the world. The Energy Summit on 3 April resulted in an agreement to moving forward with a Mediterranean pipe line project to carry natural gas from Israel to Europe, setting a target date of 2025 for completion, at an estimated cost of € 6 billion.

The pipeline will carry natural gas from the Israeli and Cypriot off-shore gas fields to Greece and from there possibly to Italy.

The European Commission aims at increasing Europe’s energy security by diversifying sources of energy imports and uniting Europe’s negotiating power in talks with non-EU countries.

Import of natural gas from the fields in the Mediterranean Sea would reduce EU’s dependence on Russian gas and promote the transition to cleaner energy replacing more polluting fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

“This is an ambitious project, which as the Commission, we clearly support, as it will have a high value in terms of security of supply and diversification of supply,” Commissioner Miguel Cañete said at a press conference in Tel Aviv.

In recent years different ideas have been floating around about the feasibility of delivery of Israeli natural gas via a pipeline or by tankers transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Greece and/or to Turkey.

The huge Israeli natural gas resources, once they are fully developed, are supposed to cover both domestic and export needs. The involvement of Turkey in a future EU-Israeli natural gas deal would strengthen the strained Israeli-Turkish relations and increase stability in the region.

M. Apelblat

The Brussels Times