According to the Cypriot energy minister, Israel, and Cyprus are negotiating to build a pipeline that will transport natural gas from both nations to the island nation in the eastern Mediterranean and liquefy it before shipping it to Europe and possibly other destinations.
On Monday, Giorgos Papanastasiou, the minister, announced that he would shortly travel to Israel to negotiate a formal agreement.
The pipeline could be completed in 18 months after the agreement is signed.
Once investors are found, constructing a liquefaction plant in Cyprus will take two and a half years.
Five sizable gas reserves have so far been found off the southern coast of Cyprus.
There are eleven of these fields in Israel, with Leviathan, the largest, containing an estimated 22 trillion cubic feet (623 billion cubic meters) of space.
Papanastasiou announced that he would meet later this month with energy companies with permits to conduct oil and gas exploration within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, including French Total, Italian Eni, ExxonMobil, and Chevron, to discuss possible joint ventures for initiatives that would hasten the commercialization of their gas discoveries.
According to the minister, Israel accepted the Cypriot government’s pipeline and liquefaction plant proposal, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on Sunday.
“There are sufficient (gas) deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.
The majority are in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, but Cyprus also has enough for this project to go through, according to Papanastasiou.
The minister clarified that the EastMed pipeline concept had been condensed into one proposal.
This $6 billion plan for a 1,900-kilometer (1,300-mile) pipeline transporting local gas directly to Europe has recently lost momentum.
Processed gas from Cyprus might be transported to worldwide markets by ship instead of a direct pipeline connection to Europe.
The need for liquefied natural gas is increasing in Europe, but there are other markets in Asia, according to Papanastasiou.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine exacerbated an energy crisis, the previous Cypriot administration declared in December that it was considering a proposal for a similar plan, according to the AP.
The amount of gas from the Cypriot Aphrodite gas field that fell within close-by Israeli waters, according to Papanastasiou, would need to be negotiated separately by Cypriot and Israeli authorities over a few more months.
The minister added that the Israeli-Cypriot initiative is unrelated to a proposal for a pipeline to transport Cypriot and Egyptian gas to liquefaction facilities in Egypt for export.