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.”


Finns held in Muslim Malaysia over ‘Christian pamphlets’

Updated 21 November 2018
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Finns held in Muslim Malaysia over ‘Christian pamphlets’

  • hey are accused of breaking laws that forbid people from disturbing religious harmony, and could be jailed for up to five years
  • Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Finns have been arrested on a holiday island in Muslim-majority Malaysia for allegedly distributing pamphlets about Christianity, police said Wednesday, and may face up to five years in jail.
Religion is a deeply sensitive issue in Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the populaton is Muslim, and critics say rising conservatism has chipped away at a traditionally tolerant brand of Islam in recent years.
Authorities detained the two men and two women on Tuesday after receiving complaints from members of the public that they were handing out Christian materials on the popular resort island of Langkawi, said local police chief Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim.
“Police have arrested four Finnish nationals in Langkawi for allegedly distributing religious material in a public place,” he told AFP.
“They were distributing pamphlets related to Christianity.”
The Finns, aged between 27 and 60, were arrested at a hotel and police seized pens, notebooks and a bag.
They are accused of breaking laws that forbid people from disturbing religious harmony. If found guilty, they could be jailed for between two and five years.
The suspects have been remanded in custody while police investigate.
Langkawi, a jungle-clad island in northwest Malaysia, attracts millions of tourists to its palm-fringed beaches every year.
Malaysia, home to about 32 million people, has sizeable ethnic Chinese and Indian communities who have long complained about rising Islamization.
In 2010, three churches were attacked with firebombs, causing major damage to one, as Muslims sought to prevent Christians from using the word “Allah.”
Issues related to race, religion and language are considered sensitive in Malaysia, which witnessed deadly riots between members of the majority Malay community and ethnic Chinese in 1969.