Cyprus hopes to establish a pipeline linking it to Israeli gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean

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Cypriot Energy Minister George Papanastasiou told Reuters on Tuesday that his country hopes to develop plans for a pipeline linking it to Israeli gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean during talks starting next month.

The proposals put forward by the new Cypriot government, which took office in March, represent a markedly different approach to transporting gas to Europe and other markets from its predecessors.

Instead of the EastMed pipeline, which extends 2,000 kilometers to the European continent, the new government proposes a much shorter pipeline linking Cyprus with the fields off Israel.

Once in Cyprus, the gas can be liquefied and shipped to Europe.

Large deposits of gas have been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean over the past ten years, mostly off Israel and Egypt, and interest in them has grown since the Russian invasion of Ukraine hit flows to Europe.

Smaller Cypriot discoveries haven’t yet entered production, and Papanastasiou, who has been in the energy industry for nearly four decades, sees solutions in his new plan.

In an interview on Tuesday, he said it was a “win-win”.

He added that the EastMed pipeline, which has been in discussions between Israel, Cyprus and Greece for nearly a decade, had not been canceled but had faced challenges.

In addition to being shorter and faster to implement, the new 300-kilometre pipeline to fields off Israel provides Cyprus access to cheap gas and gives Israel another outlet for export in addition to Egypt.

Papanastasiou said the projects had the support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Christodoulides.

He added, “Two technical committees will be formed, including experts from both sides, and discussions will begin in July… The first committee will be concerned with gas and hydrogen, and the second with electricity”.

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