Cyprus Government in the context of the new programming period 2014-2020 will allocate "significant resources" from the Structural Funds to support entrepreneurship and innovation, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Thursday.
Specifically, the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism will be allocating around €30 mn through four new schemes for youth, clusters, Business Innovation Centers and Promotion of Innovation activities, during the new programming period, as compared to €4mn in the period 2007-2013, Lakkotrypis said, addressing the “7th International Conference for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development”.
In his address, he also noted that the Government’s long-term vision, is to create a knowledge-based economy around the oil and gas industry – one that will enable Cyprus to export services in the region and beyond.
Cyprus has already discovered a mean of 5 Tcf field, the third largest discovery in the deepwater Levantine Basin, Lakkotrypis said, pointing out that there are encouraging indications for more gas discoveries, as well as oil discoveries in Cyprus` offshore area.
Oil and gas majors, such as Italian ENI, French Total and Korean KOGAS, as well as US Noble Energy and Israeli Delek Group are currently operating in offshore Cyprus, he said, adding that some of the world`s largest oilfield services companies, for example Halliburton and Schlumberger, selected Cyprus to base their operations, “casting a vote of confidence for the country’ s prospects”.
“Our plans for the development of an onshore plant for the Liquefaction of Natural Gas would certainly add up to transforming Cyprus into an important energy hub in the eastern Mediterranean region. It is evident that a scalable LNG export terminal will provide the most secure option for the export of gas reserves from neighbouring countries as well,” he said, adding that “this plant fits well our aim to create a regional energy centre at the Vasilikos area, accommodating all oil and gas related industries”.
Beyond the immediate and mid-term benefits of the oil and gas industry, he stressed, “our long-term vision, is to create a knowledge-based economy around this oil and gas industry – one that will enable us to export services in the region and beyond”.
Lakkotrypis said he believed that “energy matters can be the catalyst for regional cooperation, not a source of conflict”, adding that Cyprus is “actively promoting regional cooperation with all Eastern Mediterranean countries”.
As he recalled, Cyprus has signed delimitation agreements with Israel, Egypt and Lebanon and maintains exceptional relationships with these countries, whereas last August, its signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel and Greece, agreeing to work together for the optimal development of their natural resources, environmental protection and offshore safety.
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