The landing in Otranto, the role of the United States and Israel, and the options of the Italian government

Vladimir Putin’s latest move threatens to further disrupt the picture and speed up options and processes: Russia will not accept payments in euros and dollars for Gas delivered in Europe, but only in rubles. Translator: Diversification of energy supplies to free the West from Russian embrace is now a necessity that cannot be postponed any longer. There is an urgent need for alternatives. The United States of America, the European Union, and the Mediterranean Basin: it is the trait of embracing everyone. And the thread, carefully untied, leads back to Puglia as a strategic center. In this case, to the pipeline East Med Poseidon: fell in SalentoJust like the faucet. And a project that resurfaces internationally, after months (years) of silence and stagnation: it has disappeared from the geopolitical maps, and now it is back in play. Puglia can double its gas pipelines in a few kilometers.

Everything changes: balance

There is an inflection, in just two months, which is the mirror of the times and is one of the regression points of the changing international scenario: from “we are turning our attention” to “after the latest developments, we will take a new look at everything”. The words, soft as required by glowing material, come from United States of America: First the US Embassy in Greece, then the Department of Energy’s Foreign Affairs. Theme: Energy supply, gas hunger that dominates Europe and then the eastern Mediterranean – Poseidon. It is worth remembering the coordinates: Italy consumed in 2021 76 billion cubic meters of gasBeyond 40% come from RussiaTap pipeline has contributed nearly 8 billion. Useful, but not sufficient.
EastMed-Poseidon is the project authorized in 2010, landed in Otranto, with a length of more than 1900 km, with a capacity 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas caught from the Levant basin off the coast Cyprus, Israel and Egypt. However, the construction site never started, so much so that the infrastructure fell into oblivion: EastMed-Poseidon has long been called “the other pipeline,” unlike the more famous Tap Line that is already in operation. A kind of “younger brother”, who was also signed by a blocked, but obvious, veto by the United States, the big distributor of the International Energy Match. the reason? Double: On the one hand, the United States exports a lot of LNG to Greece, the hinge country of the EastMed-Poseidon project; On the other hand, the White House did not want to create tension with another major player in the region, Turkey. The Levant Basin is located near the Turkish coast and is a contested waters.
Now, however, EastMed-Poseidon is climbing the ranks and regaining strategic business degrees. In early April Giancarlo GiorgitiThe Minister of Economic Development will be in Israel: semiconductors, chips, but in general the network of relations, and therefore the gas pipeline will be on the list.

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Phases and changing the course of the United States

On January 10, when the Russian-Ukrainian gunpowder keg had yet to explode, it had yet to explodeUS Embassy in Greece He declared through an official statement that he “remains effectively committed to linking the energy of the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe”, but – in fact – he wanted “to shift our attention to electrical conductors capable of supporting gas and renewable energy sources”. Basically: the EastMed-Poseidon project rejected. It looked like a final cleaver. Then, the Russian invasion of Ukraine upset the balance, bringing energy strategies back to the top of the agenda, rewriting paradigms and priorities, and making any cubic meter of gas that wasn’t Russian critical. Thus, prompting the American Watchtower to turn in the opposite direction and chant this declaration: “After the latest developments, we will take a fresh look at everything.” The world is changing, a new line is being drawn. The voice is Andrew Light’s voice, Department of Energy External Affairs. “It’s not only about going green, but also about moving away from Russia,” he added.

The project: what to expect, and when it is

Two names, actually two projects. one extra european (EastMedmore than 1800 km), other European (Poseidonlinkage between Greece and Italy). Igi Poseidon is formed by Edison It is the Greek Diba. The decree of the Ministry of Environment authorizing the landing belongs to 2010, with three characteristics: the irony that the work remained without gas for years; No stone was removed from the construction site in Otranto; And Igi Poseidon has never clashed with the “no” committees. The capacity of 12 billion cubic meters per year can go up to 20 metres, with the possibility of carrying hydrogen as well. Project – Say from Edison – “Ready to Build Phase”: 210 kilometers From Greece to Otranto. The deadlock required an extension of the mandate, and the latest signature of Minister Roberto Cingolani: works should start by October 1, 2023 It expires two years later, otherwise any green light will expire. In the meantime, EastMed-Poseidon continues to maintain its strategic working position: it has been confirmed by the European Parliament in recent months in the list of “projects of interest to society”. But times and costs? Four years, the company says, e 6 billion dollars.

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Gas “found” in 2017

It was in April 2017 when the EastMed match, the gas pipeline without gas, appeared to have opened: in Tel Aviv then-Minister of Economic Development Carlo KalindaHe signed with colleagues from Israel, Greece and Cyprus the coveted raw materials agreement. In the Levant Basin region, a capacity of up to 30 billion cubic meters is available per year, with an expected increase of another 20 billion cubic meters, but since that time, the pipeline has returned to the port of Al-Dhabab, crushed by changing international balances.

“Waiting” in Otranto and reclamation

Landing place between Port and Torre del Serpe, “compatible with coast morphology”, were made known in recent years by Edison. Landing not far from the power line. As Mayor Pierpaolo reiterated Shrippdis In recent days, the area will be “reclaimed”, due to the presence of asbestos in the ground as a result of the old landfill. So much so that the company suspended initial surveys last September, pending identification of the area’s characteristics. Contracts for the construction phase will in any case be “assigned”. More recently, Edison’s senior management has repeatedly reiterated the centrality and importance of the project with public pronouncements. It is clear to seize the moment and the opportunity.

What will happen now? Not Just the United States: The Role of Israel and Turkey

Mosaics are large and intricate. Israel, who has applied for the role of a difficult mediator between Russia and Ukraine, sees the opportunity as central: President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey returns two weeks ago, the first by a high-ranking Jewish official since 2008, and thus opened to possible cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy . A kind of Mediterranean peace, also in the name of gas, that goes beyond the attempts to normalize international relations drawn up by Erdogan. Eastmed will be a kind of cornerstone in the interconnected pipeline system in the Middle East, reducing the risks of transporting gas to Europe from hot and fraught regions.

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And what is Italy doing?

Currently, there is no official government position on EastMed-Poseidon. But watch out for Mario Draghi’s comments, a few days ago: “Europe now recognizes the need to accelerate the diversification of natural gas sources and the production of renewable energy. there The southern shore of the Mediterranean and southern Europe They will play a fundamental role in this process.” Basically: it is better to change the geopolitical axis and change the strategy.

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