Eastern Mediterranean gas could help ease Europe’s energy crisis with the right funding – officials

NICOSIA, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves can help ease Europe’s energy crisis, but require funding from institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Bank investment to realize the region’s full potential, an official said on Friday.

Offshore areas in the eastern Mediterranean and the Levant have delivered major gas discoveries over the past decade, with interest growing since the disruption of flows from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“If we have to secure the energy quickly… I think we have to incentivize these companies, the countries, the developers, by guaranteeing them funds,” said Tarek El Molla, Egypt’s oil minister, speaking in Nicosia.

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“And when I talk about funds, I’m not talking about commercial funds… They have to be sort of concessional funds with easy access and relaxed terms,” ​​he said, pointing to organizations like the EBRD and the EIB – the lending arm of the European Union.

Israel, Egypt and Cyprus have reported gas discoveries in recent years, although Cyprus has not yet entered production and little of the rest of the region is exported.

However, the EIB and EBRD have said they are abandoning investments in oil and gas projects to align with climate change goals.

Referring to this position, Molla said: “If you don’t talk about hydrocarbons, how are we going to accelerate these projects?”

Such financial arrangements, he said, could be accompanied by “significant efforts” to build a green corridor between the eastern Mediterranean and Europe focused on hydrogen or renewable electricity. “All of this should be done in parallel,” he said.

Molla was speaking at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), a national alliance promoting the region’s energy potential.

On Friday, Cyprus and Greece will inaugurate the construction phase of the EuroAsia Interconnector, an EU-funded undersea cable that will cross the Mediterranean and carry up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity to eventually connect Israel’s networks and from Cyprus to Greece.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said preparations were also underway to launch a “EuroAfrica” ​​interconnector that would link Egypt to the grid.

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Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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