Egypt’s constructive participation in talks for the development of the East Med natural gas pipeline, planned to carry Cypriot, Israeli and, possibly, Egyptian natural gas to the EU via Greece and Italy, has created favorable prospects for the realization of a project promising to play a pivotal role on the southeast Mediterranean energy map.
US support for the project and an effort by participating countries to ensure ExxonMobil’s involvement are also bolstering the East Med’s development prospects.
Last month, Egypt’s petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla had told Cyprus News Agency his country is not interested in participating in the East Med project with its Zohr natural gas deposit.
However, the Egyptian minister changed his tune yesterday at Ceraweek 2019, an international energy in Houston, Texas, noting Egypt will support the East Med project.
Quite clearly, Egypt is looking to establish yet another alternative supply route for its Zohr field, an enormous natural gas discovery, to major consumer markets of the west.
Prior to expressing support for East Med, El-Molla took part in a meeting with his Greek, Israeli and Cypriot counterparts – Giorgos Stathakis, Yuval Steinitz and Giorgos Lakkotrypis, respectively – and US energy under secretary Mark Menezes, at the Houston event.
All four officials confirmed their support for the East Med gas pipeline, according to a statement released by Greece’s energy ministry.
Stathakis, Greece’s energy minister, also held a separate meeting yesterday with ExxonMobil officials for talks on developments concerning the oil major’s hydrocarbon exploration interests at offshore blocks west and southwest of Crete – through a consortium established with Total and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) – and the East Med project, energypress sources informed.