The EU “a strong believer” in Eastern Mediterranean energy prospects, EU official says

The European Union has been a strong believer in the Eastern Mediterranean’s energy prospects, Anne-Charlotte Bournoville, head of the International Relations and Enlargement Unit of the European Commission’s DG Energy told a conference held in Nicosia.

Bournoville described the natural gas discoveries in the region as a game-changer, adding that they create the potential for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt to export part of these natural gas quantities.

The EU has been a strong believer in Eastern Mediterranean gas and a strong supporter for many years, she told during a discussion as part of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers conference titled From North Sea to Eastern Mediterrenean: Collaborating to maximize the potential of hydrocarbon resources, adding that in the EU 2014 energy security strategy we made the Eastern Mediterranean gas as one of the main pillars of our diversification strategy, together with the southern gas corridor.

She said that discoveries such as Cyprus’ Aphrodite, Glaucus and Calypso, as well as Egypt’s Zhor create opportunities for countries in the region to resolve the energy security needs and a catalyst for regional cooperation since in order fully benefit from the gas potential they have to cooperate and work together to ensure competitiveness.

We indeed highly value the gas supplies in the region as a future new source of gas supply which can make a valuable contribution to our energy security and diversification policy she stressed.

On his part, Cypriot Energy Minister, George Lakkotrypis said that following the discovery of Aphrodite, Cyprus is currently preparing for an extensive exploration programme that will probably take us 24 months to complete

We hope that it would generate even more discoveries that we have so far, he added.

On Aphrodite, Lakkotrypis said that the government is in the process of agreeing on the development plan with the gas field’s consortium to be followed by the issuance of exploitation licenses for transporting this gas via pipeline to Idku, an LNG terminal, where we anticipate we will receive very competitive tolling prices.

He did not overrule the construction of an LNG plant in Cyprus or a floating LNG, while he described he East Med pipeline project whose feasibility study is funded by the EU, as ambitious.

We are undergoing the Front End Engineering and Design which will hopefully show how competitive or not the pipeline would be, he added.

On Turkish illegal moves in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone, Lakkotrypis said Ankara’s moves have escalated.

He overruled Turkey’s rhetoric that it is protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, stressing that under Ankara’s view of its continental shelf there would be no gas fields left for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to share.

If we accept this version, Cyprus would be left with 31% of what our EEZ is. It also means that all of the discoveries so far will all fall in different countries he stressed.

Samy Revel, the Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus said that Cyprus is not only our closest neighbour in the EU but a natural partner in the development of natural gas.

As he noted recent discoveries in Cyprus, together with those of Israel, Egypt and other countries could create a reservoir, that would justify big projects in the region.

Revel also reiterated that Israel is following with serious concern the recent Turkish actions in the Cypriot EEZ.

On her part, Mai Taha Khalil, Amassador of Egypt to Cyprus said that her country has extensive gas and oil infrastructure, adding that soon we will have the pipeline between Egypt and Cyprus.

She noted that Egypt’s vision is a transition to more renewable and sustainable energy.

Ionannis Mallikourtis, Deputy head of the Greek diplomatic mission to Cyprus endorsed the Cypriot Energy Minister’s comments on Turkey’s illegal move in the Cypriot EEZ, noting that Greece fully supports the EU decisions for targeted measures against the Turkish illegal actions

He noted that the discoveries in Cyprus and Israel could serve as a catalyst for regional cooperation, while Greece could act as regional hub.

Costas Mavrides, MEP and chair of the Political Committee of the parliamentary assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean gave an uptick tone over the vision for the natural gas cooperation in the region with the support of the EU.

This vision for cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, among different peoples and different countries has the necessary mix, that is, the common economic interests, common rules shaped by the EU and the vision for the future prosperity and prospects, he stressed.

Francois-Regis Moutton, Director o the IOGP EU Affairs said the conference was held in Nicosia, as Cyprus is the ambassador of the region in the EU and part of the Union’s energy security strategy.

Cyprus, he said, is the link between the EU market, the largest integrated market, and the new area of supply. Cyprus is the EU ambassador between this region and the EU, he concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency