Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will on Thursday sign an accord for the construction of the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas pipeline.
The 1,900-kilometer (1,181 miles) link will connect recently discovered gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean basin with European markets through Greece and Italy. The project is being developed by IGI Poseidon SA, a joint venture of Greece’s state-owned supplier Depa SA and Edison SpA. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is set to sign the agreement at a later date.
Depa also signed on Jan. 2 with Energean Oil & Gas Plc a letter of intent for the potential sale and purchase of 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Energean’s fields offshore Israel. The deal is considered a step for the project’s commercial viability and its realization.
The accord comes just as tensions are increasing in the region after Turkey’s contentious agreement that delineates maritime borders with Libya and affirms claims to areas of the Mediterranean the pipeline may cross. The three signatory countries all oppose the deal.
The pipeline agreement is not intended to send a message to Turkey, but to promote cooperation in the energy sector at a regional level, Greek Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said on Dec. 24.
IGI Poseidon in December agreed to fast-track development of the EastMed pipeline and take a final investment decision within two years. The European Union has said it supports the project because it will help diversify its gas supplies and boost energy security.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo also underlined American backing for the pipeline when he attended a Cyprus-Greece-Israel trilateral summit in Jerusalem in March.