Natural gas at the core of upcoming Greek, Cypriot, Israeli talks

Energy matters, along with other entrepreneurial interests, will top the agenda of upcoming talks between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Israeli officials in Israel.

The Greek leader, to be joined by a delegation of ten ministers, will be in Israel this Wednesday to take part in the 2nd High Council on Cooperation, during which a Greek-Israeli declaration on energy cooperation, a precursor to a finalized agreement, is expected to be signed by the two sides.

A three-way summit involving Greece, Israel, and Cyprus is scheduled to follow in Nicosia. Here, the leaders and officials of the three neighboring countries will discuss energy matters concerning the prospective submarine Eurasia Interconnector, to carry electricity, as well as another project plan concerning the transportation of natural gas from deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.

A number of alternatives are available for the regional natural gas plan, including an LNG solution, either through a terminal in Cyprus or utilization of exisiting infrastructure in Egypt. Also, an additional option entailing the development of a submarine gas pipeline to link Greece and Cyprus, a solution proposed by Greece, is also possible.

The talks planned for the next few days come following moves towards reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, made just prior to the festive season. Natural gas is high on the agenda for both countries, which are expected to examine the prospect of developing a pipeline to carry Israeli gas to Turkey. However, Cyprus and Israel have agreed that such a project, involving Turkey, can only be developed if endorsed by Cyprus.