Israel and Cyprus Pledge Increased Energy cooperation

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Cyprus where he met with President Nicos Anastasiades. Israel and Cyprus agreed on strengthening energy ties and merging infrastructures to reach the European markets. Netanyahu and Anastasiades discussed the use of pipelines and energy grids to link to Europe as both countries develop their export strategy. The two countries discussed several possibilities for collaboration, including an East Med pipeline to Europe and the Eurasia interconnector, a 1,500km undersea cable from Israel to Crete, via Vasilikos in Cyprus, that will have a two-way capacity of 2,000 megawatts at its initial phase. Netanyahu also said that the pair pledged increased security cooperation, on which depends regional peace. Despite its strong relations with its Arab neighbours including Lebanon and the Palestinians, the island maintained solid ties with Israel. In June, Anastasiades, headed a delegation of high ranking officials, visited Israel where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and senior Israeli officials. Efforts to collaborate in the fields of energy, security and economy have also included Greece. Prime Minister Tsipar has repeatedly expressed his strong commitment to develop the trilateral cooperation.

Israel and Cyprus have made significant discoveries off their shores. Israel’s newly found gas fields promise to ensure the country’s natural gas independence for decades to come and ensure the country’s entry into the export market. The Leviathan fields, estimated at 21 Tcf, and the Tamar field, estimated at 10 Tcf, are Noble Energy’s most important discoveries in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Noble has also discovered the 4.54 Tcf Aphrodite field offshore Cyprus. Both Israel and Cyprus are eyeing the Egyptian and Jordanian markets as a first destination for their gas. Egypt and Jordan are facing a severe energy crisis as they struggle to meet domestic demand. Despite efforts to develop indigenous resources, Egypt needs to secure a reliable, cheap and secure source of natural gas to meet its short term needs. Jordan, once reliant on Egyptian gas to satisfy domestic demand is now suffering from energy shortfalls. The situation was made worse by the inflow of Syrian refugees. The development of Eastern Mediterranean gas could solve many energy problems, particularly for the countries directly involved. Important hurdles, of economic, geopolitical and technical nature will however need to first be overcome.