Cyprus’ energy plans will be implemented in the most appropriate way in the best interest of its people and other friendly cooperating countries, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday.
In a written statement regarding the EastMed natural gas pipeline project and the public debate over whether it is still an option, the Anastasiades said that the decision of Greece, Israel and Cyprus on the issue was subject to the studies of economic viability, submarine morphologies and the environmental impact of the project.
He added that the EastMed pipeline was approved by the EU as a Project of Common Interest because it contributed to Europe`s energy security, which is why the cost of studies was borne by European funds.
“It is sad that some people are happy because the execution of the project has been allegedly cancelled,” he said.
Anastasiades’ comments came after Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said earlier in the day that the construction of the EastMed pipeline was undecided from the beginning and now it remains to confirm that this project is economically unsustainable.
Speaking on CyBC radio, he said he always saw the pipeline as a tool for creating problems, especially with regard to efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.
He said there were other options for the use of natural gas, such as creating small pipelines, but also the sale of natural gas through oil tankers.He also said that Cyprus could export electricity produced from natural gas.
Specialised studies are set to determine the viability of the EastMed pipeline, the government said on Saturday after main opposition Akel and a US expert rubbished the project estimating it will not be completed because it is too expensive, complex and without economic viability.
No EastMed pipeline economic feasibility study has been presented since 2016, former US Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein said on a documentary on Turkish TV.
In the last five years, all that had been done was to sign maps and memoranda, and the European Union had never adopted the plan, he added.
Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said on Saturday the pipeline is in the stage of studies, which will determine the financial viability of the project.
He reminded that the European Commission included EastMed as a project of common interest and has funded studies of more than €36 million.
Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed a deal in early January 2020 to build a 1,900km subsea pipeline to carry natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe. The “historic” EastMed pipeline, as it was termed by President Nicos Anastasiades, was set to be completed by 2025, at an estimated cost of $7 billion.
Meanwhile a state department spokesman said overnight that Hochstein’s opinions were his own, but did underline that Hochstein too believed in linking the energy markets of the East Med with Europe via Greece.
But he said the USA believes it would be more useful to focus efforts on electricity interconnection options.
He emphasised that these plans will be a precursor to the energy transition in the region and in Europe. “Europe’s energy security is, more than ever, a matter of national security,” he said.
“We remain focused on energy security and the interconnection of the Eastern Mediterranean. The interconnection through electricity with Europe will energise the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, allowing future exports of electricity from renewable sources, strengthening the countries of the region. “In line with US climate priorities, the United States is critical of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects to ensure that US support is not diverted to carbon-rich sources and does not lead to future devalued investment as we accelerate the transition to clean energy,” he added.