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.”


UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle' held in Syria

Updated 24 min 53 sec ago
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UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle' held in Syria

  • El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year
  • United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way

LONDON: The mother of one of the British Daesh militants suspected of murdering western hostages, lost a legal challenge on Friday that it was wrong for Britain to assist a US investigation which could lead to them facing the death penalty.
Britons El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of a notorious group of British fighters nicknamed “The Beatles” — are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year.
The United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way of any future US prosecution that would seek the death penalty, waiving a long-standing objection to executions.
Elsheikh’s mother, Maha El Gizouli, had sought a judicial review, saying it was unlawful for Britain’s interior minister to provide mutual legal assistance in a case which could lead to prosecutions for offenses which carried the death penalty.
Her lawyers said the minister’s actions were flawed, inconsistent with Britain’s unequivocal opposition to the death penalty and violated her son’s human rights. However, London’s High Court disagreed and dismissed her claim.
“My priority has always been to ensure we deliver justice for the victims’ families and that the individuals suspected of these sickening crimes face prosecution as quickly as possible,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“Our long-standing opposition to the death penalty has not changed. Any evidence shared with the US in this case must be for the express purpose of progressing a federal prosecution.”
The most notorious of the four of the so-called Beatles was Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John,” who is believed to have been killed in a US-British missile strike in 2015.
He became a public face of Daesh and appeared in videos showing the murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
“This group of terrorists is associated with some of the most barbaric crimes committed during the conflict in Syria,” Graeme Biggar, Director of National Security at Britain’s interior ministry, said in a written statement to the court.
Britain has said it does not want the men repatriated to the United Kingdom and their British citizenship has been withdrawn.
British prosecutors concluded they did not have the evidence to launch their own case against the men but US officials then expressed frustration with the British stance of seeking an assurance that US prosecutors would not call for the death penalty, court documents showed.
However, last June, British ministers and senior officials decided the best way of ensuring a prosecution and to protect US relations was to seek no such assurance in this case.
That decision provoked criticism from opposition lawmakers and from some in the government’s own party who accused ministers of secretly abandoning Britain’s opposition to the death penalty.