A trilateral intergovernmental agreement on the planning of the EastMed natural gas pipeline will be signed by Greece, Israel and Cyprus within 2017, the energy ministers of all three countries decided during a meeting held in Thessaloniki on Thursday.
The meeting included Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister George Stathakis, Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and Israeli National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz. It was held alongside the Greece-Israel-Cyprus Trilateral Summit.
The signature of the agreement is expected to take place in Cyprus toward the end of the year. It will also include Italy, which the Greek energy ministry expects will be a decisive step toward the “investment maturity” of the project.
The planned pipeline will transport natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean region to Europe via Greece.
The three sides also stated their intention for greater cooperation in studying the economic and technical aspects of an electricity link between the three countries via the EuroAsia Interconnector cable, as well as discussing a Greek proposal for the addition of an optic-fibre cable for telecommunications.
Prior to the trilateral meeting, Stathakis had a meeting with Steinitz and briefed him on current developments in Greece’s energy sector, especially in the hydrocarbon sector. Steinitz welcomed the participation of Greek energy companies in the Karich and Tanin areas, where Energean has activity and invited them to boost their role in the exploitation of Israeli natural gas reserves. He also noted the greater role they could play in the planning of the EastMed pipeline.
Stathakis and Steinitz also signed a joint declaration reaffirming the excellent cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector and agreeing to expand this further.