Cyprus gas more attractive during energy crisis

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An oil and gas crisis sparked by the Ukraine war may positively affect Cyprus’ exploration program, said Energy Minister Natasa Pilides.

She said Cyprus’ gas search is being ramped up after positive contacts in Egypt and Israel.

Washington has stressed the renewed importance of the eastern Mediterranean region in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s need to cut energy dependence on Moscow.

A spokesperson for the US State Department said that the East Mediterranean region would play an increasingly important role as it expands its capacity to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and build infrastructure such as regional electricity interconnectors, promoting Europe’s energy diversification.

The spokesperson said the US remains committed to clean energy projects that interconnect Europe with the East Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Invited to comment on the US position, Pilides said the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum, whom she met this week, has had contacts with the EU and neighbouring countries, such as Israel, to find the necessary synergies for the Eastern Mediterranean to become a source of energy not only for the EU but also internationally.

The companies operating in Cyprus, she said, are already taking into account these data and are trying to find ways of cooperation so that the necessary investments are made.

“We expect and hope that the drilling activity will continue in 2022, but also the analysis of the data in order to speed up procedures,” Pilides noted.

Asked about the Glaucus gas deposit in block 10 of Cyprus’ EEZ, she said the ministry would probably have the first information about the quantities around mid-May after the appraisal drilling.

Pilides also stressed the geopolitical importance of the EastMed pipeline but said that the gas quantities available play an important role in its development.

She will discuss the issue with her Israeli counterpart when she visits the country on April 11.

Appraisal drilling operations in “Glaucus-2” carried out by the ExxonMobil – Qatar Petroleum consortium identified the presence of a natural gas reservoir with high-quality characteristics, the Energy Ministry announced on March 21.