Ministers move forward with Mediterranean gas pipeline project
A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed this week at the end of a two-day meeting of Arab energy ministers in Amman, aiming to further the ambitious one billion dollar Middle East natural gas pipeline project.
Attendant ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus concluded that a jointly owned firm, the Arab Company For Gas, would be set up with $200 million in paid-up capital, to promote the transport and marketing of gas from the region.
The scheme envisages a 400-kilometre pipeline that would stretch from Egypt to Turkey with a feed to Cyprus and eventually to Eastern Europe. Construction is scheduled to begin by year’s-end and is expected to take up to four years to complete.
The firm, which will operate from Beirut, would be responsible for the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the pipeline as well as for coordinating between the participants’ respective gas companies.
The ministers stressed that the project is open to other Arab countries. Relating to the supply of natural gas to any third party, such as Israel, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmy stated that according to the agreement such a move requires the approval of all four states partaking in the project.
During the meeting it was decided that Cyprus, as the nearest European territory to the Middle East, would have first priority to be supplied with natural gas and would be invited to participate in the organization's share capital.
The Ministers also accepted an invitation by Cypriot Minister of Commerce Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis to participate at the next meeting on natural gas to take place in Cyprus next September or October. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)