Energy firms ‘back’ government strategy

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Cyprus’ strategy to supply natural gas for power generation coincides with the policy of international companies invited to a workshop organised in Nicosia, said Energy Minister George Papanastasiou.

Papanastasiou rebuked negative reports in the Cypriot media about the workshop earlier this week.

He said the workshop was successful, and the “participating companies were briefed on the government’s strategy to examine if it matches ours”.

Authorities want to transport natural gas via pipeline from fields in the eastern Mediterranean to the island for domestic conventional power generation, with an additional LNG facility to process for European markets.

Papanastasiou said these companies operate in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and the Israeli EEZ and “have the know-how to help us with our strategy”.

He also said that some companies could transfer natural gas to the markets.

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”.

The minister said that Cyprus’ strategy in many places coincides with the strategy of the invited companies adding that any reports that give a negative picture are wrong.

“Our strategic plan is to have cheap electricity, so we need low-cost natural gas to arrive via a pipeline.

“We already have an expression of interest for a pipeline from Israel to Vassiliko in Cyprus, and therefore the primary goal set at the workshop has been achieved.”

The second objective, he said, was for liquified gas to reach European markets since the infrastructures are costly.

“The focus is for natural gas to be a transitional product that will take us to green energy, which is the primary objective.”

Energy Minister said there is a commitment with Egypt, whose infrastructure is probably in the right direction.

“The Republic of Cyprus needs to secure its own income.”

He said that Aphrodite’s management company has already prepared an updated draft proposal for the development of this block which is under assessment.

He added that Cyprus agrees with some points and not with others.

According to the plan, the development is set for 2028, pointing out that this block was discovered in 2011.

“Consultations will be made to get this closer to our objectives and our strategy.”

He said it takes time to connect to Aphrodite, and extra infrastructures are needed.

The assessment indicated 2028, but he believes it could be done earlier, “maybe 2027 or even earlier”.

He said there is interest from companies in building a pipeline for the natural gas supply in Israel, which is expected to be expressed formally this month.

Papanastasiou said when an investment decision is made, and natural gas is offered for conventional power generation, it will take 18 months for the pipeline from Israel to Vasiliko.