Delivering Greek Cyprus gas via Egypt not feasible: Turkey

Delivering Greek Cyprus gas via Egypt not feasible: Turkey

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Delivering Greek Cyprus gas via Egypt not feasible: Turkey

AFP Photo

Turkey’s energy minister has deemed that delivering natural gas from Greek Cyprus via Egypt was not feasible.

Leaders from Egypt, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration gathered on April 29 to discuss the possibility of delivering Greek Cyprus’s natural gas via Egypt.

“It is said that they will bring the gas to Egypt as liquefied natural gas [LNG],” said Taner Yıldız, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister, during a breakfast organized for economic journalists in Kayseri, a province in Turkey’s central Anatolian region. 

“When declining oil prices and high cost of LNG are taken into consideration, I do not find this decision feasible for them. This decision represents only a political obstinacy.”

He said delivering gas through Egypt would be a decision taken purposefully so as not to pass the natural gas via Turkey.

Daily News Egypt quoted Khaled Abdel Badie, Chairman of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), saying Greek Cypriot gas would be sent to Egypt by 2017, with its marine pipeline to be completed within two and a half to three years.

Studies for the project are to finish by the second half of 2015, said Sherif Ismail, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Youm7 reported.

Egypt signed a deal with Greek Cyprus at the end of 2013 over the development of hydrocarbon reserves along the maritime border between both the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) countries.

As the hydrocarbon search by Greek Cyprus remains as an obstacle in the Cyprus talks, Turkish and Greek Cypriots signaled in March that they were considering halting the exploration for reserves in the eastern Mediterranean in order to restart settlement talks for reunification of the divided island.

Peace talks were halted last October, when Greek Cypriots suspended their participation after a row with Turkey over offshore hydrocarbon exploration. Greek Cyprus discovered gas offshore late 2011 but Turkey disputes its rights over the gas. Turkey dispatched an exploration vessel to carry out seismic research in Greek Cypriot-claimed waters late last year. 

After talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Tsipras said, “We agreed on further consultations in defining our sea zones wherever deemed necessary and obviously where it does not require understanding and cooperation with third countries.” 

Turkey’s strongly worded reaction against the coup staged by el-Sisi, who was subsequently elected president of Egypt, soured relations between Ankara and Cairo as the two countries declared each other’s ambassadors persona non grata late 2013.  

Minister Yıldız also talked about his recent visit to Turkmenistan on May 1, where he signed a declaration regarding Turkmenistan’s natural gas.

He said, “Turkmenistan’s natural gas will pass through the Caspian, either by the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline [TANAP], or another line to Europe. Some 30 billion cubic meters may go to Europe via Turkey after 2020.”

Turkey currently buys natural gas from six countries, with a majority of it coming from Russia, and oil from eleven countries.