Cyprus-Greece pipeline may get ‘EU financing’

Cyprus-Greece pipeline may get ‘EU financing’

NICOSIA - Reuters
Cyprus-Greece pipeline may get ‘EU financing’

Greek Cypriot officials say a Cyprus-Greece pipeline can be financed by the EU. REUTERS photo

A proposed gas pipeline to link Greek Cyprus to Crete and then Greece or Italy will be in an EU list of strategic projects eligible for financial support, Greek Cypriot officials has said.

Greek Cyprus has high hopes its natural gas reserves can be developed quickly to help revive its broken economy.

Its priority is to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, but a pipeline could have advantages for Europe. LNG, which can be shipped anywhere in the world, is typically sold to the most lucrative market. A pipeline would guarantee that some gas supplies reached EU consumers.

‘EU to include East Med Pipeline in list’

“The European Union will include the East Med Pipeline in the revised list of projects of common interest within the Southern Corridor for gas,” George Shammas, chairman of the Greek Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority, said on June 21.

Greek Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis also said he had information the European Union would include the pipeline, although adding that Greek Cyprus had to study the feasibility of the link.

The Southern Corridor is the EU name for routes to ship gas from central Asia, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean basin to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas.

The most high-profile non-Russian gas project is one to ship Azeri natural gas from the Shah Deniz field, which has become a contest between the Nabucco West project into Austria, led by OMV and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline into Italy, led by Swiss AXPO and Statoil.

Gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field is expected to become available for export from 2017, while Greek Cyprus has said it could be exporting gas from 2020. The European Commission has said Greek Cypriot gas could play an important role in diversifying supplies and in improving room for negotiation with Russia, but its development is complicated by the long-standing rift between Greek Cyprus and Turkey. The pipeline would have to pass through disputed waters.

A Commission spokeswoman declined to comment.