Greece loses interest as Washington sheds interest in EastMed pipeline – EURACTIV.com
The United States is no longer supporting the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline project as Washington’s interest now turns to renewable energy sources, according to a State Department statement. According to Greek media, this decision benefits Turkey.
âWe remain committed to physically interconnecting energy from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. We are focusing on power interconnections that can support both gas and renewable energy sources, âthe US State Department said.
The statement added that at a time when Europe’s energy security is more than ever a matter of national security, “we are committed to deepening our regional relations and promoting clean energy technologies”.
The United States is now supporting projects such as the EuroAfrica submarine power interconnection project from Egypt to Crete and mainland Greece, and the EuroAsia interconnection project to connect the Israeli, Cypriot and European power grids. .
“Such projects would not only link vital energy markets, but would also help prepare the region for the clean energy transition,” the statement added.
Cyprus, Greece and Israel signed in January 2020 a âhistoricâ agreement for the construction of the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline, which is considered a project of common interest for energy infrastructure in Europe.
It aims to transfer between 9 and 12 billion cubic meters per year of offshore gas pumped from fields between Israel and Cyprus to Greece, then to Italy and other countries in south-eastern Europe.
Several Greek media reported that Joe Biden’s decision was a political nod to Turkey, which from the start opposed the EastMed deal because it circumvented it.
âAny project ignoring Turkey, which has the longest coastline in the eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish Cypriots, who have equal rights to the natural resources of the island of Cyprus, cannot succeed. We are once again bringing this fact to the attention of the international community, âthe Turkish Foreign Ministry said at the time.
Greek OPEN TV channel also reported that the Americans believed EastMed was causing tensions in the regions and therefore wanted relevant actors to focus on other projects that would also bring political stability in a very tense region.
Additionally, the United States is keen to sell its own LNG and may not want to sponsor a competing pipeline.
What Europe says
The European Commission was supposed to have published by the end of 2021 a study exploring the commercial and economic feasibility of the project.
At the end of October 2021, a European Commission official told EURACTIV Greece that EastMed was a “complex project” and that in order to be able to determine its commercial viability, the assessment must reflect the EU’s decarbonization targets and future demand. gas.
“The Commission’s analysis from the impact assessment of the climate target shows that the relentless use of natural gas is not compatible with the long-term decarbonisation target,” said the manager.
The transition to climate neutrality will rely on a wide range of energy sources and technological solutions, as well as a smarter use of our natural assets, the official added.
The EU official explained that if Brussels sees the role of natural gas as a transitional fuel today, the main objective of supporting the EU budget will be to invest in climate resilient energy solutions, including carbon-free gases such as hydrogen.
âLow carbon gases like hydrogen, biogas and syngas should gradually replace natural gas. What will be essential is that the infrastructure we have or in which we are investing is ready to support these new energy vectors, âsaid the official.
Another source familiar with the matter said the EU’s gas mix will change dramatically in the context of the 2050 climate neutrality target.
“The consumption of natural gas will be reduced by 66-71% and the demand for renewable and low-carbon gases, especially biogas, hydrogen and syngas, will increase to about double the demand. of natural gas, âthe source said.
“Therefore, the commercial viability of Eastmed will depend very much, among other factors, on how much gas there is ultimately in the region that could be shipped to Greece and Italy and the demand for imports.” , added the source.