Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Greece says East Med gas pipeline to Europe feasible - NEW EUROPE

MARCH 7, 2017, 15:25
Kostis Geropoulos

Project plans to connect Levantine Basin with Cyprus, Greece

DELPHI, Greece – A pipeline planned to transport natural gas from the recently discovered fields in Eastern Mediterranean to Europe is feasible and viable, the CEO of Greece’s Public Gas Corporation has said.

“There has been a lot of speculation over the past years, people talking of ‘Pharaonic’ projects. I was personally a bit hesitant. Now, we have conclusion of the studies that this pipeline is technically feasible, economically viable and commercially competitive,” Theodoros Kitsakos said, referring to the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline (East Med).

Addressing an energy panel on the third day of the Delphi Economic Forum on March 4, Kitsakos displayed slides for the first time in public showing the technical feasibility of the East Med pipeline. “From a technical background all steps are quite feasible. There is only one small piece of less than 10 kilometres just before the island of Crete where the depth is quite high,” he said. “But technology has advanced so we can cover this also so the whole route is guaranteed,” he said.

Kitsakos said Greece’s DEPA favours the East Med pipeline, which plans to connect the Levantine fields with Cyprus to Crete and mainland Greece. East Med could offer an additional diversified supply of natural gas to Greece, Italy via the IGI Poseidon pipeline and Europe in general.

The East Med, which has been included in Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list based on EU regulation, is projected to up to 14 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Greece and Europe.

Kitsakos argued that another option to build a pipeline across Turkey to reach European territories is “much more expensive and much more difficult vis-à-vis the scenario that we are promoting”.

He said that there other scenarios concerning regional exports from the Levantine Basin, including a smaller pipeline to meet Turkey’s growing gas needs or using exclusively liquefied natural gas (LNG) for exports from the region, combined with a pipeline from the Levantine Basin to Egypt.

“All these scenarios are open,” Kitsakos said. “However, I think that since politics have a vital role here, particularly in this area, the Cypriot issue is still open and in order to have any resolution you also have to pass through this. So I’m not very optimistic this will end soon. There will be a certain delay. But anyway, they are working on that. Just to wrap up the East Med, we’re aiming at 30 bcm of additional gas from that area and that particular pipeline is technically and commercially, competitively viable,” he said.

On the same panel in Delphi, Michalis Verriopoulos, Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources of Greece’s Environment and Energy Ministry, also said that the East Med pipeline was the best export option to supply European markets. “East Med, according to a recent study, is technically feasible, financially sustainable and commercially competitive. It is the best option transfer East Mediterranean natural gas to European markets,” Verriopoulos said.
Kostis Geropoulos is Energy & Russian Affairs Editor of New Europe