The government plans to lease some of the commercial activities of the state-owned Cyprus Port Authority, Communications and Works Tasos Mitsopoulos said, adding that partners will be sought to invest in this area.
"The state will remain the owner of the Ports Authority. What is under discussion is a lease agreement for a specific period to a private investor for some of the Authority’s commercial activities, if there is interest," Mistsopoulos said after a meeting with the Limassol Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the government’s plans over the ports, shipping and public transport.
As part of the conditions for a €10 bln bailaout package from the Troika of international lenders (EU, ECB, IMF), the government has undertaken a privatisation roadmap of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, the Cyprus Electricity Authority and the CPA, with the aim of raising some €1.4 bln in four years.
The first to go will probably be the telco Cyta, starting from 2015.
Mitsopoulos said plans to upgrade Limassol port, the island’s largest, include the extension of the quay walls by 500 metres, the deepening of the basin, the construction of a new passenger terminal as well as the upgrading of the port’s technical equipment.
"Limassol port is currently our predominant energy port and this should be clear," he said, noting that vital installations already exist at the port to support the ongoing exploration efforts of oil and gas companies searching for resources south of the island’s coast and in offshore tracts adjacent to Israel, Lebanon and Egypt.
"We want to maintain and develop even further this infrastructure because it is very important to assist companies operating in the energy field," he added.
Cyprus entered the natural gas scene as US Noble Energy discovered a gross mean resource of 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in block 12 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone that neighbours with Noble’s investment within Israeli waters.
The ENI - KOGAS consortium, that signed a contract for hydrocarbons exploration in blocks 2, 3 and 9 within the Cyprus EEZ, is planning to drill in the third quarter of 2014, while French Total, which has signed a contract for blocks 10 and 11, is also going ahead with drilling at the first quarter of 2015.
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