Israel signed an agreement with Cyprus, Greece and Italy to supply European countries with natural gas from its offshore fields.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz signed an agreement with his counterparts from Cyprus and Greece and the Italian ambassador to supply European Union (EU) countries with natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The project will involve a 1,300km (808 miles) pipeline on the Mediterranean seabed from the eastern Mediterranean to western Greece, where it will be connected to existing pipelines that allow for the natural gas to be delivered to Italy and other EU countries. Initial evaluations suggest that 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be pumped through that pipeline every year.

In a joint statement, the signatories said the project would “secure a direct long-term export route from Israel and Cyprus to Greece, Italy and other European markets.” They added that significant deposits had already been discovered in the east Mediterranean, including Israel’s Leviathan field, and this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Steinitz also told reporters that in addition to the EastMed pipeline, Israel is considering building direct pipelines to Egypt and Turkey.

Cyprus, Greece and Israel signed a pact in January aimed at strengthening cooperation and bolstering stability in a region facing many challenges.

Israel – an Emerging Energy Empire

Israel in recent years has become an emerging energy empire with the discovery and development of its offshore gas fields.

The gas fields are not only economically important to Israel, but politically as well.

In 2013, the Israeli government decided that the country should export 40% of its gas production and invest the profits in economic development.

Some thirty-five-trillion cubic feet of gas have been found in Israeli waters, worth some $500 billion. This crucial discovery enables Israel to become energy independent for the first time in history and has also turned Israel into a major player in the international energy-exporting market. One cannot overstate how important the discovery of natural gas in the Mediterranean has been for Israel. The Leviathan gas field is the largest discovered natural gas repository of this century.

Israel has already signed contracts with Jordan and Egypt.

By: The Tower/via BICOM and United with Israel Staff

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