Israel, Greece, Cyprus & Italy to move forward with undersea gas pipeline

East-Med gas pipeline to be world’s largest gas pipeline; Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel sign joint declaration to move forward with project expected to be operational in 2025

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Israel signed a joint declaration with three European states to move forward with construction of the undersea gas pipeline, known as “East-Med”, as European states move away from dependency on energy from Russia.

During a conference in Tel Aviv Monday between energy officials from Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, all parties pledged to move forward with the gas pipeline that is estimated to be operational in 2025. Negotiations have been underway after Israel’s natural gas discoveries as well as formation of the trilateral committee between Israel, Greece and Cyprus from January 2016.

The gas pipeline will be the world’s largest gas pipeline, around 1,300-kilometers, and would bring Israel and Cyprus’s natural gas to the European market. The pipeline deal is estimated to be around $6.2 billion.

During a press conference following the meeting, Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz stated that the gas pipeline is “the beginning of our wonderful friendship between four Mediterranean countries: Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. This is going to be the longest and deepest subsea gas pipeline in the world. It’s a very ambitious project.”

The creation of the gas pipeline will not only benefit Israel’s economy and diplomatic and trade relations with European states, but also spearhead Israel’s entrance into becoming the world’s largest natural gas exporter.

In an interview with “Globes” Monday, European Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete stated on the conference and announcement, “The purpose is to analyze all the challenges in the way of Israel becoming a major player in the future global gas market. The EU is very excited about that, which is why I am here. We see Israel and the countries of the whole region as good partners, because in the future the region is going to become a very important gas market.”

The gas pipeline will also relieve markets of dependency on Russia for energy, with growing concern and opposition from EU states on recent approval by the EU Commission to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a 1,200 kilometer pipeline to run from Russia under the Baltic Sea, parallel to the existing Nord Stream pipeline.