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EastMed pipeline

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Map of the proposed EastMed pipeline
Map of the proposed EastMed pipeline
Country Greece
General directionEast–West
General information
TypeNatural gas
Technical information
Length1,900 km (1,200 mi)
Maximum discharge10 billion cubic metres per annum (350×10^9 cu ft/a)

The Eastern Mediterranean pipeline or simply EastMed is a planned offshore/onshore natural gas pipeline, directly connecting East Mediterranean energy resources to mainland Greece via Cyprus and Crete.[3] The project, currently in design, will transport natural gas from the off-shore gas reserves in the Levantine Basin into Greece, and in conjunction with the Poseidon and IGB pipelines into Italy and other European regions.[4] The pipeline will have a length of approximately 1,900 km, reach depths of 3km, and have a capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year.[5][6] Construction of the pipeline is expected to cost approximately €6 billion (US$6.86 billion).[7] The pipeline is being developed by IGI Poseidon S.A., a 50-50% joint venture between the Greek gas utility DEPA and the Italian gas utility Edison.[5]

On 2 January 2020, the EastMed Pipeline accord was signed in Athens by the leaders of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.[5][6][8] On 19 July 2020, the Israeli government officially approved the accord, allowing the signatory countries to move forward with plans to complete the pipeline by 2025.[7]

However, following the withdrawal of support from the United States in January 2022, it is likely that the pipeline will be rerouted through Egypt to bypass Cyprus.[9]


In 2013, the construction of the EastMed pipeline was designated under European Commission Regulation 347/2013 as a Project of Common Interest and during the 2015-2018 period the Commission contributed more than €34.5 million (US$38.9 million) to complete technical, economic and environmental studies for the project.[10][11][12]

The Energy Triangle of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel signed an intergovernmental agreement for the EastMed gas pipeline in Tel Aviv on 20 March 2019 in the presence of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a sign of support from Washington for the project.[13] American interest on the pipeline is explained by Washington's demand that its European partners maintain a diversification policy of their energy imports.[14] The pipeline will diversify European gas supplies and lessen dependence on Russian Natural Gas.[15][16][17]

In April 2019, the European Commission labeled the EastMed pipeline as a Project of Common Interest, having contributed €34.5 million (US$38.9 million) to complete technical studies for the project.[12] On 7 May 2019, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte stated, at an event near Rome, that Italy will oppose the construction of Poseidon pipeline; the last section of EastMed connecting Greece and Italy via the Adriatic Sea, putting the entire project under consideration.[18][19][20] However, on 1 January 2020, it was reported that the Italian Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli had sent to his Greek counterpart a letter of support for the EastMed pipeline, thus reinstating the backing of Italy for the project.[21][22]

On 2 January 2020, the accord to construct the pipeline was signed in Athens by the leaders of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.[5][6] Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterised the accord as "historic".[6] The accord includes provisions for ensuring the security of the pipeline and a common tax regime.[5][23][24] The Israeli government approved the accord on 19 July 2020, allowing the project to move forward.[7]

In January 2022, the United States announced withdrawal of support as the project is not seen as economically viable or environmentally friendly, meaning the project is likely to be cancelled and replaced with an energy connection between Egypt and Greece.[25] U.S. House of Representatives members Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-New York) have questioned the Biden administrations reversal on the project in view of Europe's deepening dependency on Russian gas.[26]


The pipeline will connect the Leviathan (Israel) and Aphrodite (Cyprus) gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. The pipeline will begin in the Levantine Basin and make landfall in Cyprus, where a compressor station will be located.[27] From Cyprus, the pipeline will continue west for approximately 700 km, reaching depths of 3 km, and make landfall in eastern Crete.[27] A compressor station on Crete will enable the supply of natural gas to the island. From Crete, the pipeline will continue northwest and make landfall in the eastern Peloponnese, near the village of Agios Fokas.[27] The pipeline will cross the Peloponnese in a NW direction, cross the Gulf of Patras, and continue along western mainland Greece, ending in the Thesprotia region.[27] From there, the proposed Poseidon pipeline will connect to Italy.

Turkey has stated that they are strongly opposed to the pipeline project, claiming to have been intentionally excluded. The final signing of the project came in a period with Turkish exploration in the area and shortly after the signing of the EEZ agreement between Turkey and Libya.[28][29]

On 19 May 2023, Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italian energy company Eni, said that any agreement for the construction of the EastMed pipeline must include Turkey; he added that "there are disputes between Turkey and Cyprus that are difficult to remedy, furthermore Turkey has made an agreement with Libya to define a very vast platform that covers almost the entire EastMed, therefore not only Turkey but also Libya will have a say." In response to these comments, George Papanastasiou, the Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, stated that not all people agree with the opinions expressed by Descalzi, and that he respects his opinion.[30] These remarks follow reports that Eni, Cyprus and Israel are working on a deal for constructing a natural gas pipeline in the Eastern Mediterranean, connecting both the Cypriot and Israeli offshore gas fields to a processing plant in Cyprus, where the gas will be liquefied for export by ship to Italy and the rest of Europe.[31][32]

EastMed Gas Forum[edit]

In January 2019, seven energy ministers in the region penned a deal to set up the East Mediterranean Gas Forum. Total S.A., Eni and Novatek and Exxon have signed exploration and production agreements with the relevant governments.[33] Turkey is referred to as being the exception to regional tranquility.[34] The current members of the group are: Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.[35][36] In January 2020, France and the United States asked to join the Forum, as a member and permanent observer respectively.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Israeli minister seeks to delay East Med gas forum citing climate concerns". Haaretz.com.
  2. ^ Hadjicostis, Menelaos (5 December 2017). "Israel expects gas to flow from east Mediterranean to Europe". apnews.com/.
  3. ^ "Eastmed-A direct link to new sources for Europe". IGI-Poseidon.com. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Eastmed pipeline". Edison.it. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Leaders From Israel, Cyprus, Greece Sign EastMed Gas Pipe Deal". Bloomberg.com. 2 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "Proto Thema". 2 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Israel approves pipeline deal to sell gas to Europe". Reuters. 19 July 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Greece, Israel, Cyprus, move to build East Med gas pipeline". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  9. ^ "EastMed: A pipeline project that ran afoul of geopolitics and green policies". POLITICO. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Αγωγός EastMed: Πώς φτάσαμε στην ιστορική ενεργειακή συμφωνία". www.news247.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  11. ^ Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Decision No 1364/2006/EC and amending Regulations (EC) No 713/2009, (EC) No 714/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 Text with EEA relevance, 25 April 2013, retrieved 5 January 2020
  12. ^ a b Robinson, Tim; Jeakins, Geordie (12 April 2019). "Squaring the Triangle: Why Turkey and the EastMed need each other". War on the Rocks. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  13. ^ "US hot on deal bringing energy to EU, bracing Turkey". NewEurope.eu. 14 March 2019. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  14. ^ Juan Pachon. "Menendez Bill to Reshape U.S. Strategy In The Eastern Mediterranean Approved By Foreign Relations Committee". Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  15. ^ Dr. Tzogopoulos, George (10 April 2019). "A New EastMed Friendship, with US Support". Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  16. ^ Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak (17 December 2018). "Turkey at the Eastern Mediterranean Crossroads". The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy & Security. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  17. ^ B. Lana Guggenheim. "Offshore Energy is both a Boon and a Bane for Cyprus". South EU Summit. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Italy opposes Poseidon gas pipeline landfall". Reuters. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Macron sends stern warning to Ankara over Eastern Med". Kathimeriny News. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Macron warns Turkey France will show 'no weakness' on Cyprus gas search". Ahval News. 7 May 2019. Archived from the original on 15 October 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Italy fully backs EastMed | Kathimerini". www.ekathimerini.com. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Italian support for EastMed pipeline, ahead of trilateral signing of project; specs and advantages". www.amna.gr. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Turkish military drone begins patrols off Cyprus". www.irishtimes.com. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  24. ^ "French carrier in Cyprus EEZ". www.defence-point.com. Archived from the original on 6 February 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  25. ^ "EastMed: A pipeline project that ran afoul of geopolitics and green policies". POLITICO. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  26. ^ Lehav Harkov. (26 January 2022). "US Reps question withdrawal of US support for EastMed pipeline from Israel". Jerusalem Post website Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  27. ^ a b c d "Proto Thema". January 2020.
  28. ^ "EastMed pipeline project to fend off Turkish hegemony bid | Jareer Elass". The Arab Weekly. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Turkey slams controversial EastMed pipeline deal signed in Athens". TRT World. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  30. ^ "'No EastMed pipeline without Turkey', ENI says". Cyprus Mail. 19 May 2023. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  31. ^ "Israel pushes for increased gas exports to Italy". Euro News. 10 March 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  32. ^ "Cyprus, Israel working on deal for natural gas pipeline, processing plant in Cyprus". Associated Press. 15 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  33. ^ "Congress Quietly Adopts Exxon Mobil-Backed Law Promoting New Gas Pipeline, Arms to Cyprus". The Intercept. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  34. ^ "EastMed gas: Paving the way for a new geopolitical era?". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  35. ^ "East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum". Reuters. 22 September 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  36. ^ Benny, John (12 November 2019). "A new energy hub emerges among unlikely partners in the Mediterranean". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  37. ^ "France asks to join Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum". Reuters. 16 January 2020.

External links[edit]