Cyprus Editorial: New era for energy begins

21 July, 2016 | Posted By: Financial Mirror

Cyprus is entering a new phase as regards the energy sector, with the government opening up the third round for offshore oil and gas exploration license bidding this week, and the privately-funded EuroAsia Interconnector project turning a new page as regards its own licensing process.

Both are probably the only projects that will see significant investments into the local economy and both are expected to continue well into the next decade, as regards their implementation.
What is lacking, evident from the government’s inability to respond rapidly to international events, such as the Brexit and the failed Turkish coup, is a pro-active policy that would include countering the small size of the economy with a bigger impact in certain areas.
All that officials do in Cyprus is take decisions reactively and without a clear long-term plan, as is the unique case of the maritime sector, that has succeeded, admittedly, by great part due to the private initiative of shipowners and shipmanagers.
The knee-jerk reactions to the Brexit ‘fallout’ has already seen other financial jurisdictions, including rival business centres within the EU, pouncing on the opportunity created, based primarily on the fear that Britain will lose from its decision to leave the EU. However, as tax and financial services experts argue the opposite, major companies are contemplating moving their base out of the City of London, or even de-listing from the London Stock Exchange. On the other hand, Cyprus has yet to secure a single Middle Eastern (sukkuk) fund, while the inability to properly regulate the forex and binary traders and protect investors has led to a Pandora’s Box of complaints, many of which slam the Cyprus trading environment. This, in effect, is the worst form of advertising Cyprus could ever hope for, despite the smiles of state officials.
With the situation in Turkey still fragile and future prospects of democratisation seeming grim, so will Ankara’s relations with Russia and Israel be left on the back burner, until the situation settles. Unfortunately, this could also hamper, or at least delay, the ongoing process of the Cyprob talks.
In the meantime, secure supply of oil and gas, and electricity are what our European Union partners want, and all that we are doing is bickering over who will be appointed to which regulatory board, not seeing the bigger picture and benefits for our future generations.
It’s time that we got serious, at least on the energy matters, or else no one else will ever take us seriously.