Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Egypt, Greece and Cyprus sign electricity transfer agreement

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, October 21st 2021 à 16:45 | Read 516 times

Nicos Anastasiades (Prime Minister of Cyprus), Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Prime Minister of Greece) and Abdel Fattah al-Sissi (President of Egypt) agree on the electricity interconnection between their three countries (photo: Egyptian Presidency)
Nicos Anastasiades (Prime Minister of Cyprus), Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Prime Minister of Greece) and Abdel Fattah al-Sissi (President of Egypt) agree on the electricity interconnection between their three countries (photo: Egyptian Presidency)
EGYPT / GREECE / CYPRUS. Three Eastern Mediterranean countries sign a tripartite agreement for the transfer of electrical energy. Egypt, Greece and Cyprus will benefit from an interconnection. "At a time of diversification of energy sources, Egypt could become a supplier of electricity, which will be produced mainly by the sun, and Greece will become a distribution station to Europe," commented Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The joint declaration issued at the end of the summit in Athens states that "this interconnection strengthens cooperation and energy security not only between these three countries, but also with Europe (...) It will be a means of transferring significant amounts of electricity to and from the Eastern Mediterranean.

The MoU also highlights a desire for "cooperation in the exploration and transfer of natural gas, a catalyst for stability in the region", as the signatories state. "It is perhaps crucial that we all strive to use this momentum to give a parallel boost to the project to build an offshore pipeline to transport natural gas from the Cypriot "Aphrodite" field to the two Egyptian liquefaction stations of Damietta and Idku," Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said. For the Egyptian president, "by opening the way for the possible supply of liquefied gas from Egypt to Greece, these measures open the door to the supply of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, and perhaps also countries in the Western Balkans and Central Europe."

Protecting gas from Ankara's lusts

The three signatory countries are already participating in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), which also includes Italy, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and, since March 2021, France (the European Union and the United States have permanent observer status). This initiative was launched in January 2019, officially created in September 2019 and transformed into a regional organisation in September 2020. From its headquarters in Cairo, it aims to "ensure compliance with international law in the management of each other's gas resources". It provides a framework for these states to unite against Turkey's desire for hegemony in these natural gas-rich waters.

A decade ago, the offshore discoveries of the Tamar and Leviathan fields in Israel's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the aforementioned Aphrodite field off the coast of Cyprus triggered numerous prospecting operations. Turkey wants its share of this promising cake and has made this known by sending its gas exploration vessel Oruç Reis into Greece's EEZ, despite protests not only from Athens and Nicosia, but also from the European Union. Ankara also initialled an agreement with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in November 2019. Denounced by the EMGF and the European Union, this text establishes a maritime border between the two countries, disregarding the presence of some Greek islands of the Dodecanese in the defined perimeter. 

"Unfortunately, Ankara does not understand the messages of the time and its aspirations to the detriment of its neighbours are obviously a threat to peace in the region," lamented Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday 19 October 2021. "It is not possible for the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean to cooperate closely and to be pylons of stability and peace while Turkey alone disrupts international law for its own reasons," Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, added on the same day.


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