Energy Minister wants Cypriot natgas for power generation

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Energy Minister George Papanastasiou has discussed with consortiums the option of importing natural gas quantities from Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone for power generation in combination with LNG exports via a small plant.

He commented to CNA after ENI’s Chief Operating Officer for natural resources, Guido Brusco, revealed to industry news site Upstream Online options to monetize the quantities of natgas discovered in block 6.

Papanastasiou said that energy companies are considering options which have been discussed with the government.

After discovering up to 4.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas deposits in Zeus 1 and Cronos 1 in block six, Brusco told Upstream Online that ENI is considering two options, either a floating LNG or “a tie-in” to Egypt, where ENI is operating the Damietta LNG plant.

“Essentially, these are (the options) which they have been considering all along with an additional position put forth by us to ENI that we would like to expedite their decisions, and for this reason, we have put the option of diverting part of the gas to Cyprus on the table,” Papanastasiou told CNA.

He said that he had already held separate courtesy meetings with representatives of the consortiums operating in the Cypriot EEZ.

In this context, “we put some issues on the table.”

Papanastasiou said the reason for importing some of the Cypriot natural gas quantities is twofold.

“Natural gas would replace the very expensive conventional fuel for power generation, which would alleviate the burden for households, the industry and the economy in general, while expediting natural gas usage before the EU phases out gas, as stipulated by the Fit for 55 package.”

Noting that natural gas for power generation in Cyprus is not enough to justify the capital expenditure needed for the necessary infrastructure, Papanastasiou said Cyprus had suggested the option of LNG exports via a small LNG modular plant.

He said the ministry is drafting a new strategy on the way forward, which will be submitted to the President for approval and later to the energy consortiums operating in the Cypriot EEZ.

“The aim is cheaper energy in Cyprus to assist households, the industry and the economy, and because that is not enough to justify the necessary infrastructure, we are trying to create an incentive via the LNG modular plant, and this will be discussed in a joint meeting where we will present the document”.