On January 2, Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed a landmark agreement to build the EastMed pipeline - a subsea natural gas line under the Mediterranean that will link the three nations' markets. This accord is bound to create new tensions between Greece and Turkey as Ankara says EastMed project cannot proceed without its consent.
The estimated €6bn EastMed pipeline project will link Cyprus and Israel’s offshore gas reserves to mainland Greece and Italy, bypasses Turkey and aims at providing an estimated 10 per cent of Europe’s natural gas. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, and Nicos Anastasiades, the Cypriot president, signed the deal on Thursday, 2 January.
The 2,000km long EastMed pipeline is expected to provide an alternative gas source to Europe, which is largely dependent on Russia and the Caucasus region. The pipeline will have an initial capacity of 10billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. It will connect Cypriot and Israeli offshore fields to a shore side receiving point on Crete, with an onward connection to the Greek mainland. Thereafter, additional pipelines (below) will provide access to Italy and to the rest of Europe.
Turkey, which is locked in a long-running maritime boundary dispute with Cyprus, opposes the deal. “The most economical and secure route to utilize the natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean and deliver them to consumption markets in Europe, including our country, is Turkey,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement after the signing.