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East Med Gas Pipeline: “green light” but with extra conditions from the 4 Greek regions the pipeline will run through



East Med Pipeline - Πηγή: IGI Poseidon S.A.
East Med Pipeline - Πηγή: IGI Poseidon S.A.

The road is paved, at least as far as the Greek part is concerned, for the East Med gas pipeline. The studies of environmental conditions put up for consultation in four regions of the country, got the approval of the regional councils and the project took the most important step.

The last Region to give the green light to the study of the project’s environmental conditions is the Region of Western Greece. However, as it happened with the cases of Crete, Epirus and Peloponnese, the approval is not free rein as the region set certain prerequisites and claims retributive benefits from the project.

East Med is one of the largest energy projects planned on a European level and it is to be expected that the regions do not just want the infrastructure to cross their borders. They aim for wider benefits from the project, as it is predicted that it will have positive effects on the economy and society, by stimulating employment and the supply of goods and services both during the construction phase and afterwards.

A typical example is that both the Region of Epirus and Western Greece requested that the pipeline be connected to the local natural gas networks.

As far as the studies of the environmental conditions are concerned, the project managed to lock the most important part in the licensing process. Nevertheless, the final investment decision of the project has not been taken yet.


Apart from the technical challenges, diplomacy will play a decisive role in the implementation of the project. So far it seems that the transatlantic factor does not see the issue of East Med warmly.

On the other hand, the EU considers that the project is of key importance for its energy autonomy and supports its implementation in every way, while the project operator shows the same determination.

Yes with prerequisites

In the case of Western Greece, green light was granted but some basic prerequisites were put on the table. More specifically, the Region requested:

– The EastMed pipeline should not only be passing through Western Greece, but that the possibility of interconnecting the local networks (low and medium pressure) with the project should be considered, for the benefit of the local communities and strengthening of Western Greece as an energy hub.

To envisage all necessary measures that will not disrupt the daily activities of local communities, as well as to ensure that cultural monuments and environmental resources designated as of major importance will not be affected.


– To implement all the necessary flexible actions in order to limit as much as possible the impact on social and economic activities, such as transport, agricultural production, infrastructure projects and public health.

– To ensure close cooperation between the project body and the services of the Region of Western Greece with regular updates to deal with any issues or malfunctions that arise.

In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation between the Region and IGI Poseidon is being launched with the aim of providing and realizing reciprocal benefits to the local community. The above had been requested from the beginning by the Regional Authority.

The memorandum commits IGI Poseidon to close cooperation with the Region. An important gain for the Region is that the implementing body undertakes, at its own expense, the preparation of the necessary technical studies regarding the possibility of interconnecting the local natural gas networks with the pipeline, which it will make available to the Region for further utilization.

The East Med

The natural gas pipeline is to have a length of approximately 2,000 km, of which more than 1,400 are undersea. Of these, approximately 840 km are in Greek waters.


The aim of the project is to connect Israel (Levantine Sea), Cyprus and Greece, ending in Italy, and its total budget is expected to exceed 1.2 billion euros. In May 2020, the project was also designated as a Project of National Importance for Greece.

In closing, it is worth noting that in order to reach the implementation of the project there is a road. Key elements in the completion of the puzzle are the market test that will be carried out in the next period to highlight perhaps the most vital element that has to do with the economic viability of the infrastructure.


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