Al Jazeera advises that now two geostrategic energy alliances are crossing swords over southeast Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
On one side it is the Russian-Turkish energy alliance, whereas on the other end stands the rapidly advancing liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and its new champions, the United States, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece.
Both alliances are striving to sell natural gas to the European market as it pursues an ambitious decarbonization plan, aiming to bridge Europe's transition from coal to renewables by importing increasing amounts of natural gas over the next decade.
Ioannis Desypris, a director at Mytilineos Group, Greece's leading independent electricity producer and gas trader informs Al Jazeera that “all of our region has seen a mad race over the past two years, [one] that will determine who will beat the others out to be Europe's main supplier," adding that "all the forecasts predict that at least until 2040, when other technologies may be available, the energy transition to those technologies will depend on natural gas."
Recently, the 2019 Global Gas Report analyzed the advantages of natural gas in Europe and highlighted how European countries can take advantage of it to achieve their sustainability goals.
Natural gas has seen an unprecedented development in the recent years with more countries and sectors adopting greener methods. Both natural gas production and consumption have grown at record rates. And international trade infrastructure – in the form of LNG and pipeline capacity– is growing at the fastest rate in a decade.
On Thursday, December 2, Cyprus, Greece and Israel inked an Intergovernmental Agreement for the construction of the EastMed natural gas pipeline, a 1,900 kilometer (1,180 mile) subsea pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean’s rapidly developing gas industry to Europe, with Italy expressing its support for the project by sending a letter of support.
Specifically, the three partners aim to a final investment decision in 2022 and completion by 2025. The decision for the evolution of the project was made last year, in 2019, when the European governments and Israel decided on the $6 billion pipeline project.
The gas pipeline is expected to initially carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Israeli and Cypriot waters to the Greek island of Crete, on to the Greek mainland and into Europe’s gas network via Italy.