U.S. concerns raised about Mediterranean pipeline

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U.S. concerns raised about Mediterranean pipeline

ATHENS, January 11, Reuters - The United States has expressed misgivings about a subsea pipeline designed to supply Europe with natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean, Greek government sources said, in an apparent U-turn over a project supported by the former Trump administration.

Washington, under the Biden administration, let its concerns be known recently, in a note sent to Greece, another source said.

The tension between Turkey and ethnically-split Cyprus is due to competing claims over gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Greece, Cyprus, and Israel have approved an agreement for the EastMed pipeline, which has been in planning for several years. The countries had a final investment decision this year and they planned to have the 6 billion euro $6.82 billion scheme completed by 2025 to help Europe diversify its energy resources.

The American side expressed reservations about the rationale of the EastMed pipeline and raised issues of its economic viability and environmental issues, one source said.

There was no immediate comment from Israel or Turkey.

Concerns about the financial viability of the project have been heard before, but Greece, Israel and Cyprus have supported the project.

Ankara has repeatedly said that any plans in the eastern Mediterranean that exclude it were bound to fail and that it would defend its rights in the region. It has also opposed the EastMed project, saying the plan could not work without Turkey's approval.

Reports of the United States having reservations about the pipeline were first published in Greek media.

They stand in contrast to comments made by the then-U in December 2020. S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said that the United States would work with interested parties to ensure that the infrastructure will be developed.

Greece, the official said, had taken note of Washington's views.

The Greek side stated that the project has been declared by the European Union as a special project'' and any decision on its viability will have an economic impact, the official said.

The 1,900 km 1,180 mile project is anticipated to carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Europe, as an alternative to Russia's dependence on Russian gas.

The United States believed that priority should be given to interconnecting the electricity grids of countries in the region.