The Eurasian Policy & Energy Hub

The European Union has announced a $2.3-million feasibility study of a natural gas pipeline between Cyprus and Europe — one of the continent’s latest efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

Cyprus has had success developing gas fields off its eastern and southern coasts that are closer to Europe than Middle Eastern gas.

Although the EU has been working hard to diversify its gas supplies since Russia invaded Crimea and began supporting eastern Ukrainian separatists in 2014, it still obtains a third of its gas from Russia. The continent wants to move away from Russian gas so it is not subject to geopolitical blackmail from Moscow.

In addition to Cyprus, the EU is looking to Azerbaijan and Israel for supplies.

Azerbaijan and Turkey are working on a three-pipeline network that would supply Azeri gas to the continent through Georgia, Turkey and Greece. Plans are for it to be completed in 2018 and the first gas to be pumped through it in 2019.

Israel has been developing large offshore gas fields that could supply Europe some day, but bureaucratic in-fighting has delayed the projects. When the red tape is cleared away, Europe will likely look at a pipeline from those fields, too.

As part of its diversification effort, Europe has also begun importing liquefied natural gas from the United States and elsewhere. But it needs to build a lot more terminals to handle LNG in order for ship-borne gas to be a viable alternative.

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