Cyprus and Israel are in talks over a new path to exporting gas from Israel to continental Europe.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides discussed “providing gas from Israel to Europe via a pipeline from our gas fields to a gas liquification facility that will be built in Cyprus,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
Pipeline to connect world regions
“This connection will launch Israel’s economy to new heights and strengthen Israel’s status as an important international energy provider,” Netanyahu said. “Europe needs energy, it needs gas, and creating an easy and inexpensive gas supply from Israel and Europe will strengthen Israel’s position very much.”
Cyprus’s Energy Minister George Papanastasiou told journalists more about the plan on Monday, saying a shipping corridor could be set up instead from a hub in Cyprus to transport liquefied gas.
"It will be a corridor, that will exist. Instead of a pipeline, it will be a connection between Israel and Europe which can be done through Cyprus," Papanastasiou said.
"It could be a virtual pipeline which would link through Cyprus to the rest of Europe in liquefied form," he added, saying liquefied gas could be dispatched from Cyprus to any market, including Asia.
"Our objective is low-cost electricity production ... so natural gas should come from the area," Papanastasiou said after briefing an opposition party on the energy plans of the new administration, elected in February.
Papanastasiou, who held senior posts in the oil and gas industry before his ministerial appointment this year, said Cyprus would host a workshop with industry stakeholders on May 29. He said a liquefaction plant could take about 2.5 years to build, and a pipeline with Israel about 18 months.
In the past, plans for Israel to export gas to Europe focused mostly on the EastMed Pipeline, which was planned to be 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) long, the longest in the world. The EastMed was meant to connect Israeli gas to the European continent via Cyprus and Greece.
The Israeli Energy Ministry declined to comment.
The pipeline has been under discussion for about a decade, with talks about partial funding by the European Union.
The Trump administration supported the EastMed plan, but in early 2022, when the Biden administration withdrew previous American support, saying it was too expensive and would take too long to build.