The Israeli Minister of Energy, Yuval Steinitz, has announced that two major natural gas companies are interested in the Israel-Cyprus plan for a pipeline connecting the two countries, as well as a gas processing facility. The pipeline would allow for the transfer of natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan field to Cyprus, and then on to Europe. The two companies are reportedly from the United States and Europe, though the names have not been disclosed.
The pipeline project is seen as a major milestone in the development of Israel’s natural gas industry, which has been hampered by regulatory and political delays. It is estimated that the pipeline would cost approximately US$7 billion to build, and that it could be operational by 2024.
The potential for a pipeline between Israel and Cyprus has been discussed for several years now, but the plan has only recently gained momentum. In June, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the project.
Steinitz has said that he hopes that the project will be finalized in the near future, as it would be a major step in reducing Israel’s energy dependence and connecting it to the European energy market. He also noted that the project could bring economic benefits to both countries, as well as providing a secure source of energy for Europe.