Natgas finds “pivotal” for EU and region, says Commission
The European Commission is examining the impact of possible Cypriot gas reserves in the offshore area between Cyprus and Israel, in order to diversify the EU’s energy mix, as well as break off the island’s energy isolation, said Commission spokesman Jakub Adamowicz.
Speaking at the daily press briefing in Brussels, Jakub Adamowicz was quoted by the Cyprus News Agency as saying that “it may be too early to evaluate the size of stocks, but the European Commission monitors very closely the developments in the gas fields of Cyprus.”
“The natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean can play a very important role in helping both the neighbouring countries and the producing countries themselves to tackle energy security problems,” he noted. “Likewise they have a growing role in EU energy diversification strategy, although it is too early to evaluate the impact that would have on the Community gas market,” he said.
“The European Commission recognises the potential of the eastern Mediterranean in the context of recent findings in relation to gas and monitors with great interest the development plan for the Cyprus gas fields, as well as other sources in the area. The ending of energy isolation and diversification of gas supplies in the EU are important objectives of this Juncker European Commission, as described in the strategy for the Energy Union. Bringing new gas in the EU, particularly to the vulnerable southeast Europe, is of paramount importance,” he concluded.
Commission sources told CNA that one of the key tools to support energy infrastructure is the projects of common interest (PCI). The PCIs will be authorised by a simplified procedure and will receive preferential financial support through the programme Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The same source claimed that the eastern Mediterranean pipeline (East Med Pipeline) has already received funding from the CEF amounting to 2 mln euros in 2015. Another PCI programme on the Commission’s list is the EuroAsia Interconnector that connects Cyprus with the EU through a sub-sea electricity pipeline from Israel to Crete.
In relation to Turkey and the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, the European Commission officials refer to the conclusions of December 2012 European Council, calling on Turkey to commit itself to good neighbourly relations and the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with the UN Charter. The Council in December 2012 stressed the need to respect the sovereign rights of Member States, including the right to explore and exploit natural resources in accordance with the acquis communautaire and the UN Convention on maritime law.