'Turkish ties will not harm Israel Cyprus prospects'

Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom met with Cypriot FM and Energy Minister; says ties are safe, wants to cooperate with Cyprus on gas.

Silvan Shalom at Tamar natural gas rig 370 (photo credit: Moshe Binyamin)
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 developments.
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.
During the 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 office.
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.”
Meanwhile, following 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.