ENERGY: Israel says EastMed gas pipeline could be world\’s \’greatest underwater project\’

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Plans to build a $7 billion, 2,200-kilometre EastMed gas pipeline from Cyprus to Italy could be “one of the greatest underwater projects in the world,” visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Tuesday.

Leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel, in December, reached an interstate agreement on building an ambitious multi-billion dollar EastMed pipeline. An agreement is expected to be signed early this year.

After holding talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades Rivlin said: “Our prime purpose right now is on developing the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline… it could be one of the greatest underwater projects in the world”.

A deal on the pipeline, which aims to connect Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy needs to get the approval of the European Commission.

“Energy cooperation with parties in the East Mediterranean can make a greater difference for the people of Cyprus, Israel, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian authority,” Rivlin said.

“We are looking forward to making progress in all these areas of cooperation for the security and the prosperity of our two nations and for the stability of the Mediterranean,” he added.

The gas pipeline project aims to connect Israel and Cyprus natural gas reserves with mainland Europe.

It would be the longest and deepest submarine gas pipeline in the world that could see Israel and Cyprus as preferred importers of natural gas to the European market.

The EastMed pipeline will begin about 170 kilometres off the southern coast of Cyprus and will stretch for 2,200 kilometres to reach Otranto in Italy through Crete and mainland Greece.

EastMed is expected to play a significant part in assuring Europe’s supply of natural gas, as annual needs are expected to increase by 100 billion m³ by 2030.

The pipeline – expected to take five years to build – will have the ability to transport up to 20 billion m³ of natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe annually.