CAIRO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Egypt and Cyprus have signed an agreement on construction of an underwater pipeline, Egyptian Oil Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The pipeline will carry natural gas from the Cypriot Aphrodite gas field to Egypt to be liquefied before exporting to different world markets," the statement said.
The agreement, signed in the Cypriot capital Nicosia, "will help encourage more oil explorations in the region," said Tariq al-Mulla, Egyptian oil minister.
He pointed out the important strategic location and strong infrastructure of Egypt regarding the future of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
The pipeline will also help contribute to the gas supply for European Union countries, Mulla added.
Meanwhile, Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said the agreement aimed at ensuring development, construction, and operation of an underwater pipeline directly to Egypt through the two countries' exclusive economic zones.
Egyptian and Cypriot ties have strengthened since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014. Leaders of the two countries have met for five tripartite summits in the past four years.
Egypt and Cyprus signed an agreement in November 2017 to cooperate on surveillance of the eastern Mediterranean region to prevent arms, human trafficking and terrorism.
"Thanks to the maritime demarcation deal, the gas deals and discoveries in Egypt raised the prospect of regional integration of energy markets and the potential for gas to run to Europe," Waleed Gab-Allah, a professor of financial and economic jurisdictions at Cairo University, told Xinhua.
The cooperation with Cyrus through the gas maritime deals will help Egypt transform into an energy hub in the region, he noted.