Cypriot Minister of Energy George Lakkotrypis, following the meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades, made statements regarding the approval of the law on ratifying the transnational agreement on the EastMed pipeline.
As George Lakkotrypis said, “the agreement was signed on 2 January in Athens between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, while there are specific provisions in the agreement that allow Italy to sign whenever she is ready. This transnational agreement is an essential tool and basically defines various issues between countries, such as maritime jurisdiction, environmental and security issues, but also the establishment of a joint working group between countries to monitor and carry out the work required for the project. The intergovernmental agreement will be taken to Parliament for a vote.
Continuing, the Minister of Energy noted that “operationally, the Consortium is proceeding with the necessary technical studies for the pipeline, which are also funded by the European Commission with approximately 35 million euros. Four studies are in the process of being awarded. The first concerns maritime surveys and the other three concern detailed technical studies (Front-End Engineering Design), both for land facilities, such as pipelines and conversion stations, as well as for the FEED technical study for this submarine pipeline itself. These are studies that cost tens of millions, which shows the consortium’s faith that this project has a chance to come to be realized”.
Asked if the pandemic had affected the prospects for co-operation between the countries involved, he replied: “As the other projects currently under study are defined, so is this as well. Let’s not forget that when a company or a consortium plans for such a grandiose project, it does not do so on the basis of current data, but certainly upon those that may apply in three, four, or five years from now. So in the case of the EastMed pipeline, the necessary studies are being carried out at the moment and very soon the consortium will try to find buyers for the natural gas of the Eastern Mediterranean. At the end of the day, this is the most important criterion that will determine whether the project is feasible or not”.
Asked if Italy’s intention to sign had changed, George Lakkotrypis explained that “there has not been any more recent update; you understand that all countries, and especially Italy, have been committed to tackling the pandemic. I am sure that in the near future the issue will be reopened”. /ibna