US signals energy shake-up in East Med

US signals energy shake-up in East Med

Washington’s intention not to support the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline, as conveyed in a non-paper around three weeks ago, is seen to have removed an element of pressure on Ankara, while forcing Nicosia to redefine its energy tactics.

The US stance is a manifestation of concerns that have simmered in previous years regarding the economic viability of the project. At the same time it is also at odds with the White House’s green agenda. The plan entails the construction of a 1,250-kilometer underwater pipeline to bring gas from Israel, Egypt and Cyprus through Greece to the EU.

Instead the US has thrown its support behind the electricity interconnection between Greece and Egypt, confirming its intention to treat the largest Arab country as the pre-eminent point of transfer of clean energy to Europe.

In comments to Kathimerini, a US Embassy spokesperson said Washington strongly supports energy integration in the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece’s leading role. The official added that Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt will encourage further cooperation of the 3+1 scheme (Greece, Israel and Cyprus plus the US), which will provide new avenues for energy diversification.

The spokesperson also said Pyatt has repeatedly expressed Washington’s strong support for projects such as the planned electricity interconnection from Egypt to Crete and the Greek mainland and the proposed EuroAsia Interconnector that will connect the electricity grids of Greece, Cyprus and Europe.

Moreover, in response to a question from Greek correspondents, a State Department spokesperson said that the US remains committed to the 3+1 regional cooperation scheme and considers Europe’s energy security a matter of national security.

However, the spokesperson noted that Washington is focusing on clean energy technologies that will prepare the Eastern Mediterranean region for the transition to a new energy era.

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