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Israel, Greece, Cyprus to push for gas pipeline to Europe: sources


Israel, Greece, and Cyprus have decided to take their proposal for a pipeline from gas fields offshore Israel and Cyprus to Europe, Israeli energy sources said late Thursday.

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This followed talks in Jerusalem between senior government officials of the three countries.

The sources said representatives of the three countries would hold talks soon with European Union Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete to promote the proposed pipeline that would run from offshore Israel via Cyprus and then on to Greece, approximately 1,400 km (868 miles). The EU has been looking for ways to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

"A common pipeline is one of the strategic options for exporting gas to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean and additional gas discoveries in Israeli and Cypriot waters will make this attractive," Israeli Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz said at the end of the talks.

Greece was represented by Economy, Industry, and Tourism Minister Giorgos Stathakis and Cyprus by Energy, Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis.

A feasibility study conducted by IGI-Poseidon for the European Commission put the cost of the pipeline at $5.7 billion. Israel is pinning its hopes of export gas on the development of the huge Leviathan field, which is expected to begin commercial production at the end of 2019. The Leviathan partners are also considering gas exports via pipeline to Turkey and largely idle LNG plants in Egypt.

--Neal Sandler,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,