Cabinet on Thursday approved the ratifying law for the intergovernmental agreement of the EastMed pipeline, a gas pipeline project connecting the gas reserves of Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking after the meeting, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that the agreement will be submitted to the House of Representatives for ratification.
The intergovernmental agreement was signed on January 2, 2020, in Athens between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, with Lakkotrypis pointing to provisions in the agreement, that allow Italy to sign when it is ready.
According to the Minister, the agreement is a necessary tool that regulates various issues among the countries concerned, such as maritime jurisdictions, environmental and security issues. It also establishes a joint working group to monitor and carrying out the necessary work concerning the project, he added.
The Minister of Energy said moreover that the consortium also proceeds with the necessary technical studies for the pipeline, that are also funded by the European Commission with 35 million euros.
Four studies are about to be awarded, the Minister went on, noting that one concerns maritime surveys and the other three are Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) studies.
“These studies cost tens of millions of euros, expressing the conviction on the part of the consortium that this project has the potential to be realized” said Lakkotrypis.
Asked if the pandemic affected the prospects for cooperation prospects among the countries concerned, the Minister said that a consortium planning for a project of this scale does not only take into consideration today’s circumstances, but those in four or five years from now.
In the case of the EastMed pipeline, the necessary studies are being carried out and the consortium will soon proceed with efforts to find potential buyers for the region’s natural gas, he added.
At the very end, this is the most important factor that will define whether the project is feasible or not, the Minister said.
Asked if there are indications about a change in Italy’s stance, Lakkotrypis expressed his conviction that the issue will be reexamined soon.