Israel reached an agreement with Greece, Cyprus and Italy to build an $8 billion pipeline to supply gas to the three countries, the radio network of the Israeli army reported on Sunday.
The pipeline should be completed by 2025, the report said, citing Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. The four countries are set to sign an agreement on the project by the beginning of February.
The agreement was reached one year after the conclusion of a feasibility study by the European Union with positive results, Steinitz said.
The 2,100 kilometer pipeline, which will run at a depth of 3,000 meters below the bed of the Mediterranean, is expected to cost about $8 billion according to initial studies. It will carry natural gas from deposits in the sea off Israel to Cyprus, and via the Greek mainland to Italy. Russian Sputnik cited Steinitz as saying earlier last week that the pipeline, almost twice as long as the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, a landmark project of Turkish-Russian energy cooperation, will have a capacity of 12 billion cubic meters per year – which is approximately half of what TurkStream can provide.
The TurkStream project, of which the sea part was completed last week and a ceremony was held with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, is composed of an offshore segment of 930 kilometers and an onshore segment of 225 kilometers on Turkish land. The pipelines run between the Russian port of Anapa and Kıyıköy, in Turkish Thrace, and then as an underground pipe to the Turkish-European border.
Consisting of two lines, the Turkstream project has an annual gas delivery capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters. While the first line will provide natural gas for the Turkish market, the second line will deliver the commodity to European countries via a route passing through the Balkan nations by 2020. Another multinational project that will carry gas to the European markets is the Southern Gas Corridor. The project, which transfers Azeri gas to Europe via Georgia, Turkey and Greece, has two major pipelines. The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline met last week on the Turkish-Greek border. The participation of other countries is possible in the future, if all four countries agree, the Israeli Energy Ministry said. The European Union provided 70 million euros for the feasibility study and planning. "If everything goes as planned, we expect Israel to become one of Europe's energy suppliers by 2024-25," Steinitz said, adding that the agreement was of "great economic and political significance."
The energy ministers of Israel, Cyprus and Greece and the Italian ambassador to Cyprus signed a memorandum of understanding on the plans in Nicosia a year ago in the presence of EU Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.