Silvan Shalom at Tamar natural gas rig 370.
(photo credit: Moshe Binyamin)
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom on Tuesday assured his Cypriot
counterpart that Israel intends to cooperate with Cyprus on Mediterranean energy
Israel’s reconciliation with Turkey will not harm the other
two countries’ relations, he said.
Shalom met with Cypriot Energy,
Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Giogros Lakkotrypis and Foreign Minister
Ioannis Kasoulides about the possibilities of strengthening cooperation and ties
between the two countries, with an emphasis on energy issues.
meeting, Shalom discussed the progress of a feasibility study for laying an
underground electricity cable between Israel and Cyprus and from there on to
Greece and other European countries, his office said.
“Israel wants to
cooperate with Cyprus on the efficient development of natural resources in the
eastern basin of the Mediterranean,” Shalom said. “The countries of the region
must maximize the profit latent in the gas discoveries by means of regional
cooperation and for stability in the region.”
If the underwater cable
project between Israel and Cyprus does proceed, it would be 270 kilometers long
and have a depth of approximately 2,000 meters below sea level, enabling a
two-way power flow of up to 2,000 megawatts.
This would be the largest
cable of its kind in the world, Shalom’s office said.
From Cyprus, there
would be an additional 600-km. cable stretching from Cyprus to Greece, he said,
thereby establishing the connection between Israel and the European continent. A
memorandum of understanding has already been signed between Cyprus and Greece
for laying this portion of the cable, Shalom said.
The estimated cost for
the entire project of cables from Israel to Cyprus to Crete would be 1.5 billion
euros, with an approximate return of 17.5b. euros. The Israel-to-Cyprus
segment would cost about 500b.euros, according to Shalom’s
Just three days prior to Shalom’s meeting with Kasoulides and
Lakkotrypis, Cypriot media reported that Lakkotrypis had had a telephone
discussion with his Lebanese counterpart on hydrocarbon exploration, which
sources described as “substantive and constructive.”
Israel’s apology two weeks ago to Turkey over the flotilla incident, Israeli
energy experts have been touting the possibility of Turkey as a more promising
destination for gas exports.
At the meeting Tuesday, Shalom reassured the
Cypriot officials that Israel’s reconciliation with Turkey would not come at the
expense of its relations with Cyprus.