“With Italy taking part, the project will take its final shape as the most dynamic option to guarantee the European Union’s energy security from gas reserves in the Southeastern Mediterranean,” Greek energy minister Hatzidakis said on Thursday.
The Mediterranean nations of Greece, Cyprus and Israel are expected to sign a new agreement to build a large pipeline that stretches nearly 2,000 kilometers across the sea.
If the agreement goes through, the subsea pipeline will be able to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean region to the developing gas industry in southern Europe.
According to the Reuters News Agency, the three countries expect to reach a final investment decision in 2022. Once the investment decision is made, the pipeline could be completed as early as 2025.
The Greek Energy Minister, Kostis Hatzidakis, is meeting with his Cypriot and Israeli counterparts in Athens on Thursday to sign this agreement that would create one of the largest natural gas pipelines in the Mediterranean.
In addition to the energy ministers, the prime ministers of Greece and Israel, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Benjamin Netanyahu, along with the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, are expected to attend the event.
If an agreement is reached, Greece will await Italy's decision before finalizing the details of the pipeline deal, the Greek Energy Minister said on Thursday, as reported by Reuters. “With Italy taking part, the project will take its final shape as the most dynamic option to guarantee the European Union’s energy security from gas reserves in the Southeastern Mediterranean."
Currently, the three countries, along with Egypt, are involved in a diplomatic row with Turkey over control of the shipping lanes in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey's recent agreement with Libya over the rights to explore the North African nation's territorial waters has outraged neighboring Egypt, along with Cyprus, Israel, and Greece, as the deal gives Ankara exclusive rights to this part of the Mediterranean.