In the wake of concern over recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is heading to Cairo on Monday and then Nicosia.
More specifically, Greek concerns stem from the possible geopolitical implications of Egypt’s recent moves in the region and the possible change in the pipeline map in the Eastern Mediterranean. In view of this, Athens and Nicosia are looking at ways to remain in the game.
With regard to Egypt, the focus is on the recent tender announcement from the Egyptian Oil Ministry. The western blocks in the announcement have been drawn up based on the agreement for the delimitation of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between Greece and Egypt, last August.
However, a block located east of the 28th meridian follows the southern borders of the Turkish continental shelf as outlined in the verbal communication to the United Nations on November 13, 2019. Turkey this week said it was positive that Egypt “respected” its continental shelf.
The second issue concerns the recent initial agreement between Egyptian and Israeli companies for a pipeline between the two countries. The plan, which has not yet been formalized at the state level, foresees the transport of natural gas by Chevron and Delek, which manages the Leviathan field.
The deal could also be a harbinger of another project, stipulating the extension of the pipeline west of Egypt and from there to Greece.
The third concerns Cyprus and the EastMed pipeline, as it is clear that the unresolved Cyprus issue and Turkey’s rise to power in the Eastern Mediterranean is pushing the only players in the region with proven large amounts of gas, such as Egypt (Zohr deposit) and Israel (Leviathan and Tamar) to look at alternative scenarios.
The possibility of activating alternative pipelines would marginalize the EastMed project, which, in any case, already faced enormous implementation difficulties.