EU warms to East Med gas link

Cyprus said on Tuesday it has joined forces with Israel and Greece to get the European Union to consider a pipeline that would link the continent with newly found natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean.

A statement said Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis and his Greek counterpart Yiannis Maniatis pitched the idea to European Commission Energy Union chief Maros Sefcovic.

The officials told Sefcovic in Monday’s meeting that the proposed East Med Corridor would have a capacity of 8-12 billion cubic meters and would link Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy.

They said the pipeline would buttress the EU’s energy security because it would pass mostly through bloc member countries.

Maniatis said EU-funded studies would confirm preliminary research on the project’s technical feasibility and economic viability.

“This is an interesting project,” Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti of Italy, which holds the 28-nation EU’s rotating presidency, told reporters on Tuesday in Brussels after he chaired a European energy meeting.

“It could play an important role in diversifying our resources.” he added.

“The gas interconnection between Cyprus and Crete is from the technical point of view rather challenging,” Sefcovic told reporters.

“The best thing would be to proceed with a feasibility study.”

Sefcovic said the Commission would explore possibilities to help with conducting the study.

[AP, Bloomberg]