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A planned pipeline to carry natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe is too expensive to build and will be late to help Europe diversify its gas supply away from Russia, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Thursday.
The EastMed pipeline, for which a final investment decision is expected this year, is planned to deliver around 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European Union (EU) through Greece and Italy. The EU has backed the project as a means to diversify its natural gas imports away from Russia. The EastMed project is expected to meet some 10-15 percent of the EU's projected natural gas needs. For the EastMed pipeline project, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus signed in early 2020 an agreement to build the infrastructure, aiming for a final investment decision in 2022 and for pipeline completion by 2025.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union—with the help of American liquefied natural gas (LNG)—finds itself in a rush to replace as much Russian gas supply as soon as possible. The Russian war in Ukraine made Europe rethink its energy strategy, and the European Union has now drafted plans to cut EU demand for Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of 2022 and completely by 2030.
The Eastmed pipeline will be very long and run very deep in the Mediterranean, which will complicate construction that could take a decade, Nuland said after meeting with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, during a tour in Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus.
Anastasiades, for this part, said he had stressed in the meeting with Nuland “that Cyprus, along with liked-minded countries of our region, can make a substantive contribution to the effort to strengthen EU energy independence.”
Nuland, however, said about EastMed, as quoted by the Associated Press: “And frankly, we don’t have 10 years, but in 10 years from now, we want to be far, far more green and far more diverse” in energy sources.
“So what we’re looking for within the hydrocarbon context are options that can get us more gas, more oil for this short transition period,” the U.S. diplomat added.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com