"The natural gas discoveries in Israel's waters can fulfill a positive role in the energy mix of the EU. They increase Europe's energy security and can serve as an alternative to the continent's current sources of gas supplies," Greek Deputy Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Ioannis Maniatis told "Globes" today.
Maniatis's remarks are a rare public statement by a European politician. Europe suffers from its dependence on Russian natural gas. Maniatis is making a business visit to Israel to prepare for next month's visit by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Maniatis met Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau and Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan to discuss strengthening collaboration on renewable energy, energy conservation, and water management.
"Globes" has reported that Israel and Greece are holding secret talks for the supply of natural gas, probably via an undersea pipeline from the Leviathan field. Maniatis said that he did not discuss this issue with Landau and Erdan, but added that Greece wants to become the gateway to the EU for Mediterranean natural gas. He said that Greece is planning to build three natural gas pipelines for importing gas from Central Asia.
Greece currently imports 70% of its natural gas from Russia, and the rest from Algeria and Central Asia. "Greek use of natural gas is half the EU average, and we want to close the gap," said Maniatis. Greece currently consumes 3.75 billion cubic meters of gas a year, compared with 5.2 billion consumed by Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 22, 2011
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011