by Hezi Sternlicht
"The Israel-Europe Gas Pipeline will allow Israeli gas to reach every home in Europe," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says • Ambitious infrastructure project, privately funded to the tune of NIS 20 billion ($5.5 billion), can be completed by 2025, he says.
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz hosted a summit of European energy ministers on Monday morning, where an agreement to build the longest underwater natural gas pipeline in the world was announced.
In attendance were energy ministers from Cyprus, Greece and Italy, along with the European Union's envoy for energy and climate affairs.
"The Israel-Europe Gas Pipeline will allow Israeli gas to reach every home in Europe," Steinitz said. "Never before has there been such an ambitious infrastructure project in Israel."
Following the official signing, Steinitz took his colleagues on a flight tour of Israel's offshore gas fields.
According to Steinitz, the project, which is currently in advanced stages of analysis and has already demonstrated initial technical and commercial feasibility, can be finished by 2025; or in other world within eight years.
"If we take the quickest route, this can be reduced by a year or two," Steinitz estimated, allowing for the possibility that all four countries could begin working on the pipeline simultaneously. The overall cost of the project, estimated at around 20 billion shekels ($5.5 billion), will be covered entirely by the private sector.
When asked if the pipeline agreement -- expected to be some 2,000 kilometers (around 1,200 miles) long -- poses a threat to a parallel joint-pipeline agreement with Turkey, Steinitz said the current deal does not reduce the importance of additional potential projects with other countries.
"The celebratory meeting [Monday morning] and our shared agreement to mobilize the Mediterranean pipeline project means that Israel is not only accepted in the Middle East, but by Europe, as a significant player in the international energy market," Steinitz said.
Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.