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Three-way energy cooperation for Greece, Cyprus and Israel

Greece, Cyprus and Israel are getting ready to set up working groups to assess the possibility of the creation of a broad, three-way energy cooperation, following discussions in Nicosia between top govenment officials of the three countries last week.

The talks between Cypriot Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiotis, Greek Deputy Environment and Energy Minister Makis Papageorgiou and Israel’s Energy and Water Resources Minister Uzi Landau focused on the possibilities of cooperation, including their interconnection via an underwater electricity cable and the construction of a Mediterranean natural gas pipeline.

Athens and Nicosia will submit the proposals to the European Commission in a bid to secure subsidies from Brussels.

The pipeline would connect all three countries and augment the Southeastern European energy corridor. This would facilitate future exports of natural gas from the reserves of Israel and Cyprus destined for Greece either via the Mediterranean pipeline or in another manner.

According to Landau, Israel’s policy on natural gas exports has not been determined yet. It would require the government’s approval of the recommendations processed by the competent committee.

Nevertheless some progress has already been achieved on the issue of the underwater power cable: The Israel Electric Corporation and Greece’s Public Power Corporation are conducting research in order to establish whether its installation would constitute a significant project on a financial and energy policy level for Israel.

In a statement after the completion of talks in Nicosia, host minister Sylikiotis said negotiations also touched on the issue of cooperation between the three countries’ electricity companies – Electricity Authority of Cyprus, Israel Electric Corp and Public Power Corp – regarding the Euro-Asian interconnection of Greece, Cyprus and Israel via an underwater power cable.

In theory, the underwater cable will pass through Cyprus and Crete in order to reach continental Europe.

Israel is considered an “energy island,” which means that its electricity and natural gas networks are not connected to any of those of its neighboring countries, for political reasons. As a result, Tel Aviv is seeking to ensure its energy needs are covered through a system of major investments that will also secure its access to reserves.

ekathimerini.com , Monday November 12, 2012 (22:47)  
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