World’s longest gas pipeline could be built by 2025

(L-R) Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Italian Economy Minister Carlo Calenda, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, EU Commissioner of Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete, and Greek Economy minister Giorgos Stathakis present a map during a joint press conference following an energy summit in Tel Aviv on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 05 April 2017
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World’s longest gas pipeline could be built by 2025

LONDON: European and Israeli governments gave the go-ahead Monday for a Mediterranean pipeline to carry natural gas from Israel to Europe, with a completion target of 2025.
The planned 2,000-km (1,248-mile) pipeline aims to link gas fields off the coasts of Israel and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy, at a cost of up to $6.4 billion.
“This is going to be the longest and deepest sub-sea gas pipeline in the world,” said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz.
At a joint news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, energy ministers from the four nations — as well as the EU’s commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Canete — pledged their commitment to the project.
A feasibility study has been completed, and the next few years will focus on “proper development activities,” with a final investment decision expected by 2020, said Elio Ruggeri, chief executive of IGI Poseidon, the project owners.
The EU is seeking to reduce its gas dependence on Russia and diversify its sources, while Israel is looking to find markets for its new gas discoveries.
“Israel has been unable to leverage its gas to create closer ties to its Arab neighbors for various reasons,” Jim Krane, an expert in Middle East energy geopolitics at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told Arab News.
“One possible customer, Egypt, recently made a major discovery of its own, and no longer needs Israeli gas. Others, like Jordan, need the gas but worry about the downsides of energy dependence on Israel,” he said.
“Israel’s next best option is to find a way to move its gas to Europe. For the Europeans, Israeli and Cypriot gas would provide a welcome diversification to supplies from Russia and North Africa.”
However, any Israeli-EU gas pipeline faces huge obstacles. “European gas demand is flat. Israeli gas will have to compete amid a worldwide glut of LNG (liquefied natural gas), which has fallen significantly in price,” Krane said.
“Finally, it’s never easy to build a pipeline across multiple maritime boundaries. Plans for long international pipelines rarely succeed.”
Altay Atli, a research associate at Sabanci University’s Istanbul Policy Center, told Arab News the timetable may be feasible, but this pipeline is not the only game in town.
“I think 2025 is a realistic target for the completion of the project, but it will take some time (as well as feasibility studies and political decisions) for the project to take off,” he said.
“Israel has other options on the table, including a pipeline project that will take its gas through Cypriot waters to Turkey, where Turkey will purchase part of the gas and the rest will be exported to the European network through Turkish pipelines,” Atli added.
“The Turkish route is shorter than the Greece-Italy route. It’s less complicated technically, and it’s easier to fill in without the need to find additional resources. In sum, it’s economically more feasible.”


New Zealanders give up guns after massacre, but some face blowback

A man looks at firearms on display at Gun City gunshop in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 19, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 min 56 sec ago
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New Zealanders give up guns after massacre, but some face blowback

  • Police said they did not have data available on the number of weapons handed in since Friday
CHRISCHURCH, New Zealand: New Zealanders have begun handing in weapons in response to government appeals following the Christchurch massacre, but the gesture has put some squarely in the social media firing line.
John Hart, a farmer in the North Island district of Masterton, decided to give his semi-automatic rifle to police after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday plans to tighten gun laws in light of the slaughter Friday of 50 Muslim worshippers.
She also encouraged owners to surrender unnecessary firearms after it emerged that the accused mosque attacker, Australia white nationalist Brenton Tarrant, had legally acquired the guns he used in the rampage.
Hart said it was an easy decision for him to hand in his semi-automatic and tweeted that “on the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse. We don’t need these in our country.”
The tweet drew a barrage of derogatory messages to his Facebook account — most apparently from the US, where the pro-gun lobby is powerful and vociferous.
Hart deleted the messages but posted online: “A warm kia ora to all my new American Facebook friends.”
“I’m not familiar with your local customs, but I assume ‘Cuck’ is a traditional greeting,” he said of the insult, short for “cuckold’, frequently used by far-right extremists.
Hart told AFP many of the messages made inaccurate references to his sexuality.
“It was very sudden. It started about the time the US east coast was waking up. There seemed to have been a rallying call,” he said.
A more mild message, from Kaden Heaney asked: “What’s the point of giving up yalls personal guns? Yall do realize what happens to societies that give up their guns right? Evil people will get their hands on guns, knives, bombs or whatever they want to kill no matter what the intentions of good people are. Who will protect you.”
Christopher @offwhiteblogger said: “You did the right thing then; you clearly aren’t responsible enough to own a firearm.”
Police said they did not have data available on the number of weapons handed in since Friday.
But they issued a statement saying that “due to heightened security and the current environment, we would ask that people please call us first before attempting to surrender a firearm.”
A person calling himself Blackstone tweeted: “this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. Have owned a firearm for 31 years ... Once I realized that, the only way I could go forward with a clear conscience was to hand it into the police for destruction.”
Ardern has said that details of the government’s proposed law changes on gun ownership will be announced by next week, but she indicated that gun buybacks and a ban on some semi-automatic rifles were under consideration.
“As the Cabinet, we were absolutely unified and very clear: the terror attack in Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores, it was in fact one of the worst globally in recent times, it has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand’s gun laws,” she said.
New Zealand police, meanwhile, were investigating a suspicious fire at a gun club in the far north of the country, but were not immediately linking it to the current gun debate.
There had also been a fire at the same club a year ago.