Cyprus offers energy gateway to Europe

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Cyprus on Monday urged international companies to back the government’s plans to create an energy gateway to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean to ensure the security of supply.

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides told a workshop of industry stakeholders, “We have come up with a technically feasible solution to bring natural gas to Cyprus for power generation and liquefaction and exportation to Europe”.

Nicosia is keen to create an energy corridor that would transport natural gas from Israel and elsewhere to Cyprus, where it would be liquefied at an LNG plant and sent to Europe via ship.

Israel and Cyprus are already negotiating a deal to build a gas pipeline and processing facility for the project.

Once the Israel-Cyprus deal is agreed upon and energy firms are brought on board, a tender process will launch for the pipeline and processing plant construction.

The roughly 320-kilometre pipeline is estimated to cost around €450 mln, and the LNG plant €1 bln, officials estimate.

Some of the gas conveyed to Cyprus would be used for domestic power generation to reduce consumer energy costs.

“The unprecedented energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, combined with the inflationary pressures on world economies, has forced the European Union to urgently look for alternative energy sources and supply routes,” said Christodoulides.

He added: “We are proposing, through ‘The Cyprus Gateway’ initiative, to monetise the Eastern Mediterranean’s natural gas resources efficiently.”

The focus is on transporting, via a pipeline, natural gas originating from fields in the Eastern Mediterranean to an LNG plant for conventional power generation in Cyprus and European exports.

“Through this facility, natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean region can be liquefied in Cyprus and transported by LNG carriers to the European markets, thus creating an East Med corridor of gas supply to Europe,” said Christodoulides.

He said the European Union showed “great interest” in the project.

“We urge the companies and investors active in the Eastern Mediterranean, who look favourably upon the region as a potential new source of natural gas supply for Europe, to explore these synergies.”

Cyprus made its first natural gas discovery in 2011 at the Aphrodite field, but it remains commercially untapped.

US company Chevron operates it with Shell and Israeli partners who want to expedite the development of the Aphrodite to the southeast of Cyprus, which is estimated to contain about 4.5 trillion cubic metres (tcf) of gas.

Chevron also operates the giant Leviathan field offshore Israel, which produces 12 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year supplied to Israel, Egypt and Jordan.