The EastMed pipeline could be in place within five years, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Tuesday, describing it as an extremely important project.
“In Israel we have a huge surplus of gas. We have enough to justify not one EastMed pipeline but I think together with Cyprus we can justify even two or three such pipelines,” Steinitz said in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency during his visit to the island.
Cyprus, Israel and Greece on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in relation to the EuroAsia Interconnector, taking another step towards the implementation of an ambitious project to link the electricity grids of the three countries
Steinitz said the three countries have formed, in the last decade, an alliance of three democracies in the region that would now also have a physical connection. “This interconnector will give us some of the backing that we need in order to depend so heavily on solar energy,” he added.
On the EastMed pipeline, he said that “finally after many years that we missed opportunities, Israel, Cyprus and Greece decided to combine forces together and to help each other’s economic development by all means.
“This is going to be the longest and deepest subsea gas pipeline in the world and the EU took upon itself the feasibility studies. Already one hundred million euros were invested mainly by the EU. After the coronavirus crisis will be over, hopefully in a few months, half a year, we are going to promote it and to establish it. I hope that five years from now we will have this pipeline in place. I believe that the electricity interconnector might be in place in two or three years time. The EastMed pipeline is a bigger and more expensive project and it will probably take around five years,” he said.
Asked about Turkey’s stance as regards energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and its illegal activities in Cyprus’ EEZ and whether Turkey could be part of joint energy projects in the region, Steinitz he hoped that one day Turkey would decide to join the region.
“We are ready to cooperate with Turkey. In the past we even considered with Turkey some gas export from Israel to Turkey. Nothing came out of it, but there were some discussions about it and we would prefer to see Turkey as part of regional cooperation rather as a source of conflict,” he said.