Cyprus determined to proceed with its energy plans, assures Energy Minister

The Republic of Cyprus is determined to exercise its sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone and to proceed with its energy planning, said Tuesday Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis.

He also said the same determination is shared by the companies that have agreements with the Republic.

Lakkotrypis further said the Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA)s study on how to introduce liquefied natural gas to Cyprus will soon be presented to the cabinet and tenders will open.

Addressing the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the developments on exploitation of the islands hydrocarbon resources, Lakkotrypis said that he informed members of the House on developments in exploration drilling as regards the third licensing round, efforts to come to an agreement on the exploitation of the Aphrodite reserves towards Egypt, and Turkeys latest provocations in the Cypriot EEZ and how they affect the Republic of Cyprus energy plans.

Lakkotrypis also said that together with the members of the House they agreed to continue the dialogue so that the energy issue steers away from issues concerning the pre-election campaign. Cyprus will go to the polls in February 2018 to elect a new President.

Asked how the Turkish provocations in the EEZ affect the energy planning, Lakkotrypis underlined they do not, adding that Turkey continually provokes us but we will continue to do nothing more or less than exercise our sovereign rights.

He also said that Italys ENI energy company will go ahead with drilling in July as well as all other scheduled plans. They will go ahead with the necessary three-dimensional seismic surveys and expect the drilling to take place by end of 2017 or beginning of 2018, he added.

Lakkotropis pointed out that the companies involved in the Cypriot EEZ are among the largest in the world, are used to working in areas of tension and they are also determined to proceed with their drilling programme.

In response to another question, the Minister for Energy said that, apart from the technical and economic challenges that the hydrocarbons sector faces, there is also the dimension of the big differences that exist in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Minister of Commerce said the government will continue to handle the situation by building closer relations with its neighbors and in mid-June the President of the Republic will visit Lebanon.

Regarding the construction of a terminal, the Minister of Commerce said that he informed the Energy Committee that “top priority is a liquefaction terminal and for that purpose a land survey study has been prepared in Vassilikos.

He said President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades was informed on Wednesday on the study conducted by DEFA which had indicated that we must proceed with natural gas to Cyprus at the deadline agreed that is 2020 and soon a proposal will be presented to the cabinet to announce two tenders, one for the necessary natural gas infrastructure and the other for the natural gas itself. Lakkotrypis said perhaps a further 18 months might be required for the terminal to be completed.

He explained that this would be a floating Regasification unit, which will allow us to introduce the necessary quantities of natural gas for power generation. He further clarified that such plants are located near power stations, receiving liquefied natural gas vessels and regasifying them to generate power.

He finally said that for the interim solution, consultants proposed the Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) method.

Talks for a Cyprus solution resumed on April 11. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in the talks since May 2015 with a view to reunited the island, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974, under a federal roof.

Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. In recent weeks, Ankara has sent its vessels to carry out surveys in the Republics Exclusive Economic Zone.

Source: Cyprus News Agency