Gazprom’s prospective southern gas corridor to the EU, initially called South Stream but later renamed to Turkish Stream, now has a major competitor.
Israel, Italy, Greece and Cyprus have reached an agreement to build the East Med gas pipeline, which will transport gas from the Leviathan gas field, the largest gas field discovered in the 21st century, with an estimated 3.5 trillion cubic meters of reserves.
According to The Times of Israel, EU experts have given the go ahead to the project, the planning and technical justification of which was financed by the EU.
A binding intergovernmental agreement on the construction will be signed by February 2019, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced.
The project, which will become the world’s longest deep-water gas pipeline, will cost in the region of $7 billion. It is intended to span the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of up to 3,000 m from the source near Israel to Cyprus, and from there to Crete and through mainland Greece to Italy.
The pipe will have a capacity of 20 billion cubic meters per year, twice as much as the second line of Turkish Stream, which Gazprom also initially intended to end in Italy.
The laying of the pipeline will take 4-5 years, Steinitz noted. “If everything goes according to plan, in 2024-2025 we will become a supplier of energy resources for Europe,” he added.