- Large natural gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean have raised hopes that the region could serve EU energy needs, helping it to fulfil its goals of energy diversification, security, and resilience.
- But there are commercial and political hurdles in the way. Cyprusʼs reserves are too small to be commercially viable and Israel needs a critical mass of buyers to begin full-scale production. Regional cooperation – either bilaterally or with Egypt – is the only way the two countries will be able to export.
- Egypt is the only country in the region that could export gas to Europe independently because of the size of its reserves and its existing export infrastructure. But energy sector reforms will be needed to secure investor confidence in this option.
- There are now two options for regional export: to build a pipeline that connects Israel and Cyprus to southern Europe, or to create a network of pipelines into Egypt, from which gas could be liquefied and exported.
- The EU should explore regional prospects by strengthening its energy diplomacy, developing more projects of common interest, working to resolve the Turkey-Cyprus dispute, and incentivising reforms in Egypt.
ECFR - PIPELINES AND PIPEDREAMS - TAREQ BACONI SOURCE