East Med Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
East Med Gas Pipeline, sometimes written as EastMed Pipeline or Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, is a proposed gas pipeline in Cyprus, Israel, and Greece.
The pipeline's main planned route goes between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece, via the island of Crete. According to March 2021 news reports, Egypt and Greece are discussing an alternative route avoiding Cyprus.
- Operators: IGI Poseidon S.A.
- Owners: DEPA S.A. (50%), Edison S.p.A. (50%)
- Parents: DESFA S.A. (50%), EDF (50%)
- Capacity: 10 bcm/year
- Length: approximately 1,900 km / 1,181 mi
- Diameter: 24 to 30 inches, 46- 48 inches
- Status: Proposed
- Cost: €6 billion (US$6.72 billion) minimum estimate
- Financing: Two grants totalling €36.5 million (US$40.48 million) from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility
- Start Year: 2025
- Associated Projects: Poseidon Gas Pipeline
In May of 2018 the leaders of Cyprus, Israel, and Greece agreed to push ahead with a proposed pipeline that will supply east Mediterranean gas to Europe. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the East Med pipeline a “very serious endeavor” that’s important for Europe, which is looking for new sources of energy.
The proposed East Med Pipeline Project would start about 170 kilometers (105 miles) off Cyprus’s southern coast to the Greek coast, via Crete, and is proposed to connect to another proposed pipeline, the Poseidon Gas Pipeline running offshore from Greece to Italy. The East Med pipeline will have the capacity to carry up to 20 billion cubic meters (706 billion cubic feet) of gas yearly. Europe’s gas import needs are projected to increase by 100 billion cubic meters (3.5 billion cubic feet) annually by 2030.
In December 2017, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said a study on the East Med Pipeline Project showed that the link is feasible, even though it presents technical challenges due to the depths involved. He told The Associated Press pipeline could take 6-7 years to build and that the countries involved “are serious about it.” The leaders on Tuesday also reaffirmed their backing for planned undersea electricity and fiber optic cables that will link the three countries.
According to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), an industry group, the cost of the pipeline would be 5.2 billion euros. ENTSOG ruses the project code "TRA-A-330" to refer to East Med.
In April 2020, IGI Poseidon issued a 2.4 billion euros call for proposals to start work.
In July 2020, the Israeli government ratified a multinational accord for the project. Bloomberg reported that a survey of the pipeline route is ongoing, with the aim of reaching a final investment decision within two years and completing the project by 2025.
An analysis published by Global Witness in October 2020 found that were the East Med pipeline to operate at full capacity until 2050, the gas it transports could produce more greenhouse gases than France, Spain, and Italy emit altogether in a year. Global Witness also conservatively estimates that the gas transported by the project in one year could lead to the emission of 38 million tonnes of carbon if burned. With methane leaks from the pipeline also factored in, gas and methane from East Med could produce more greenhouse gases than Europe’s single largest fossil fuel emitter, the Belchatow power complex in Poland. Global Witness has called for the pipeline to be scrapped because of both the potential climate cost and the fact that the EU already has plentiful gas supplies.
Phase Two Expansion
The first phase of East Med designed to transport 10 billion cubic meters per year (11 including an additional 1 bcm/y carried from the source to Cyprus where it is used locally). Phase two of East Med is aimed at doubling the pipelines capacity to 20 bcm/y. All engineering and development activities, including related pre-investments for this capacity increase are considered within the first phase.
European 'Project of Common Interest' status
The pipeline was approved in 2015 for inclusion on the European Commission's Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, making it eligible for public funding. According to the European Commission, "New onshore and offshore pipeline (excluding upstream pipeline section) of approximately 1870 km. The pipeline will have the initial capacity of 10 bcm/y. The total power of the compressor stations to be installed will be around 225 MW. The Metering and Regulating station at Megalopoli, once carried out, will give the potential to connect the Greek gas transmission system with the EastMed pipeline."
IGI Poseidon announced on May 13, 2020 that the Greek Parliament had designated the project as a Project of National Importance and of Public Interest to Greece. In that announcement, IGI Poseidon's chairman stated "The main contracts for the development of the Project have recently been awarded demonstrating that the Project’s development is on track, despite the difficult circumstances and economic upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The EastMed pipeline was included in the 5th PCI list published by the European Commission in November 2021.
Alternate Route Proposal
In March 2021, To Vima, a Greek journal, reported that Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi presented a rerouting of the East Med pipeline to Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Under the alternative proposal, according to Euractiv, "The pipeline would still start from Israel's Leviathan gas field and instead of going to Cyprus through an offshore pipeline, it would head to Egypt by land and then ascend to the island of Crete passing through the area of the demarcated Greek-Egyptian Exclusive Economic Zone."
Flare-up of regional tensions
The discovery over the last two decades of large gas reserves off the coasts of Cyprus and Israel has led to various diplomatic manoeuvres and the signing of agreements which have seen swathes of the eastern Mediterranean being claimed by competing countries. Amidst escalating tensions, a collision took place in August 2020 between Greek and Turkish warships in the East Mediterranean. The East Med pipeline's prospects are expected to be affected if these regional tensions, which have also drawn in France, the EU, the United States and NATO, continue to go unresolved.
In January 2022, East Med received a major setback when Greek media reported that the United States was no longer diplomatically supporting the project's development. A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Greece on East Med energy cooperation said: "We remain committed to physically interconnecting East Med energy to Europe. We are shifting our focus to electricity interconnectors that can support both gas and renewable energy sources."  According to Kathimerini, diplomatic sources also said that "the American side expressed reservations to the Greek side regarding the financial viability of the planned East Med pipeline."
The Politico reports that it is unlikely to proceed in it's currently envisioned state, with Cypriot president expressing his sadness at the project being "supposedly cancelled", with Bloomberg reporting a Greek government spokesman saying that a number of alternative pipeline routes that may be technically and economically more viable are being considered. Kathimerini further reported comments from the foreign minister of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, that the fate of the project rested on the results of a financial feasibility study being carried out by the European Commission. Kasoulides also noted that implementation of the project could only proceed if it is self-financed.
Via its PCI status, through the CEF program the project has received €36.5 million (US$40.48 million) of publicly funded grants to assist with the costs of pre-development technical studies. As of the end of 2020, IGI Poseidon is reported to have invested €70 million in the project's planning stage, and a final investment decision is planned to be taken in 2022.
Articles and resources
- Israel, Cyprus, and Greece push East Med gas pipeline to Europe Times of Israel, accessed August 2018
- IGI Poseidon - Eastmed accessed Jan. 11, 2020
- European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (November 25, 2020). "TYNDP 2020 - MAP – Transmission" (PDF). ENTSOG. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- INNOVATION AND NETWORKS EXECUTIVE AGENCY (December 2020). "Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Pipeline – Pre-FEED Studies". Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Athens and Cairo mull changing the route of EastMed pipeline". www.euractiv.com. 2021-03-04. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- Tugwell, Paul (January 1, 2020). "Leaders From Israel, Cyprus, Greece Sign EastMed Gas Pipe Deal". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
- Our company profile, IGI Poseidon website, accessed Nov. 2, 2020
- "Eastmed". IGI Poseidon. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
- "Works - 197398-2020 - TED Tenders Electronic Daily". ted.europa.eu. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
- "The Government has approved the EastMed agreement reached by Energy Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz together with the ministers of energy of Cyprus, Greece and Italy". GOV.IL. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
- Alisa Odenheimer, "Israel Approves Natural Gas Pipeline Link to Europe," Bloomberg, Jul. 19, 2020
- ENTSOG Ten Year Network Development Plan 2020, Annex A, Projects Tables accessed Jan. 11, 2020
- European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (July 10, 2020). "Current TYNDP : TYNDP 2020 - Annex A - Projects Details" (PDF). ENTSOG. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 9, 2021. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
- New effort for East Med agreement at Athens energy summit, energypress, Aug. 6, 2019
- EastMed pipeline viability under scrutiny, Ekathimerini, Mar. 13, 2021
- Pipeline from the East Mediterranean gas reserves to Greece mainland via Crete European Commission, accessed December 11, 2019
- Pyrrhic Victory: Why Europe and Turkey should not fight over fossil gas we cannot use, Global Witness, October 30, 2020
- Kate Abnett, EU countries seek to prolong bloc's funding for gas projects - document, Reuters, May 27, 2021
- "EU countries seek to prolong bloc's funding for gas projects - document". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- "Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed) Pipeline Project, Israel". www.nsenergybusiness.com. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
- Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (January 2016). "Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Pipeline–Pre-FEED Studies" (PDF). Europa.eu. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- "EASTMED-POSEIDON PIPELINE DESIGNATED AS PROJECT OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE". IGI Poseidon. 2020-05-20. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
- ANNEX to COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) …/... amending Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the Union list of projects of common interest, European Commission, Nov. 19, 2021
- "Aποκλειστικό: Σενάριο για πέρασμα του East Med μέσα από την Αίγυπτο | Ειδήσεις - νέα - Το Βήμα Online". Ειδήσεις - νέα - Το Βήμα Online (in Ελληνικά). 2021-03-01. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- "Athens and Cairo mull changing the route of EastMed pipeline". www.euractiv.com. 2021-03-04. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- Michele Kambas, Tuvan Gumrukcu, Greek, Turkish warships in 'mini collision' Ankara calls provocative, Reuters, Aug. 14, 2020
- Sarantis Michalopoulos, Greece fumes as Washington loses interest in EastMed gas pipeline, EURACTIV, Jan. 10, 2022
- Statement on East Med Energy Cooperation, U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Greece, Jan. 10, 2022
- Vassilis Nedos, US skeptical over EastMed pipeline plan, ekathimerini.com, Jan. 10, 2022
- Sotiris Nikas, U.S. Shifts Focus to Renewables, Natural Gas in Eastern Mediterranean, Bloomberg, Jan. 10, 2022
- "EastMed: A pipeline project that ran afoul of geopolitics and green policies". POLITICO. 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-06-23.
- EastMed project to depend on financial feasibility study, ekathimerini.com, Jan. 18, 2022
- The US backs the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline, Enerdata, Dec. 21, 2020