The recent discovery of substantial quantities of natural gas within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) opens up new perspectives to the role of Cyprus in the global energy map, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiotis has said.
“Undoubtedly, the recent gas discovery of substantial quantities of natural gas within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, in combination with the potential utilization of other gas deposits in the broader region, opens up new perspectives and new impetus to the role of Cyprus in the global energy map and the European Energy market”, he said in his address at a European Oil & Gas Summit on the future of the Cyprus energy industry, on Tuesday in the southern coastal town of Larnaca.
Sylikiotis referred to Cyprus’ position in the energy map in the past as an isolated island, outlining further the actions the Republic has undertaken in order to prepare its entry into the energy market.
Cyprus, he said, “is one of the few countries in the Mediterranean Sea that has already signed agreements on the delimitation of its Exclusive Economic Zone with three of its neighbouring countries, Egypt in 2003, Lebanon in 2007 and Israel in 2010”.
According to the Cypriot Minister, in 2006 Cyprus signed with Egypt a framework agreement concerning the development of cross-median line hydrocarbon resource and is currently in negotiations with Israel in order to sign a similar agreement.
Referring to government policy, Sylikiotis said that “in the context of the development of indigenous natural gas deposits, studies concerning the installation of a subsea pipeline for the transportation of natural gas to Cyprus’ shore for domestic use, primarily for electricity generation, are underway”.
With regard to the exploitation of deposits, he added, “Cyprus has already decided to establish the necessary infrastructure for liquefying the natural gas (LNG) for export”.
According to Sylikiotis “the LNG plant will be located onshore Cyprus and can constitute the necessary regional energy infrastructure that may contribute to the diversification of Europe’s supply sources, as well as to the enhancement of its energy security”.
“The strategic position of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, in conjunction with the recent gas discoveries in the region and plans for their export, could prove an alternative and fully flexible gas storage hub for the European Union and the rest of the world”, he pointed out.
Sylikiotis further noted that the energy sector in Cyprus is undergoing a transitional period determined by the transportation of natural gas onshore Cyprus for meeting the domestic demand and the completion of the infrastructure for LNG export.
“These two important milestones determine the length of the transitional period and once completed we should have a more diversified and secure energy supply”, he said.
He referred to an Action Plan in place by the government to achieve its binding targets to increase the contribution of Renewable Energy Sources to 13% at 2020.
“We firmly believe that we have a clear picture of the new prospects developing and are now carefully and consistently moving forward towards achieving our goals”, he said.
Sylikiotis noted that “the Eastern Mediterranean Sea could be transformed in an area of common borders and interests for all of us, offering prospects for peace, prosperity and progress”.
“We are offered, at last, the historic opportunity to work honestly, constructively and in good faith, for the benefit of our peoples”, he said, adding that “within this framework, Cyprus has a key role to play as the bridge of peaceful cooperation and coexistence between the countries of the region, but also between Europe and the Middle East”.
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