Israel and Turkey discuss plans to pipe gas via Cyprus to mainland

Gas supplies piped from Israel to Turkey could begin in three years and discussions on the project could be concluded by summer, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has said.

Speaking on Bloomerg TV on Tuesday, the energy minister said that progress was being made in discussions, laying the groundwork to negotiate for Israeli gas to reach Turkey within three years.

The purpose is to conclude by this summer a government-to-government agreement on a gas pipeline stretching from Israel to Turkey, in order to export natural gas from Israel and also the vicinity, to Turkey,” Steinitz said.

The Israeli Minister also noted that an even more ambitious and complicated plan is process, with Israel looking to export gas to Italy through Cyprus and Greece.

My vision is that three years from now we will be able to export natural gas to Turkey and six years from now we will be able to complete this cross-Med pipeline,” he said.

The general idea is very clear,” Steinitz said. “The East Med Basin, the economic waters of Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt, maybe also Lebanon in the future put together, will be some kind of replacement” to the North Sea.

However, Israeli ambitions to create a network of gas pipelines in the eastern Mediterranean in a region divided by protracted conflicts, is going to be difficult to achieve. Additionally, world energy prices remain depressed. A pipeline to Turkey would have to go through Cyprus, which has been divided since a Turkish invasion of the north in 1974.


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