Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said Tuesday that that the Republic, as a sovereign and independent state and despite Turkey’s provocations, threats and illegal activities, is determined to go ahead with the implementation of its energy policy.
He said the government is continuously in touch with all oil and gas companies licensed to operate within its Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), with all assuring that they remain committed to their contractual obligations and that in this context ExxonMobil, Qatar Petroleum, Total and Eni are planning their drilling activities for the second half of 2021.
President Anastasiades was addressing the 8th Energy Symposium, organised online by the Southeastern Europe Energy Institute and Financial Media Way.
Anastasiades outlined his government’s energy strategy, which is based, as he said, on a comprehensive strategic planning aiming to develop Cyprus’ local energy market, to lift the island country’s energy isolation and to exploit the hydrocarbon reserves with its EEZ, a process that had to be halted during 2020.
“Restrictions in travel, health measures and oil and gas companies’ smaller budgets mainly due to a reduction in oil and gas prices due to the pandemic resulted in a dramatic drop of exploratory activities globally,” Anastasiades noted.
President Anastasiades highlighted the fact that “contrary to other geographic regions there has been no cancellation of exploratory programmes nor have companies decided to leave from our EEZ.”
“I would like to underline that even under current circumstances this year has seen important developments in relation to our hydrocarbons strategy implementation,” he noted.
He referred to the fact that Noble Energy, which is operating natural gas reserves of the Aphroditi gas field was recently bought out by Chevron, a giant in the oil and gas industry.
“Both companies have assured us that planning is continuing as normal for the exploitation of the gas field on the basis of the approved production plan,” he said, adding that according to the plan the natural gas will be transported by way of a sub-sea pipeline to the LNG terminal in Idku, Egypt for exports to Europe and other international destinations.
Cyprus’ President assured of “our determination, despite any provocations, threats and illegal activities by Turkey, to go ahead as a sovereign and independent state with the uninterrupted implementation of our energy policy, on the basis of specific and targeted strategic plans we adopt.”
He continued saying that the government will continue its initiative to enhance our energy cooperation with Eastern Mediterranean and European countries, while at the same time honouring its contractual obligations with countries or companies, going ahead with the implementation of particularly important agreements the Republic of Cyprus has signed.
At the same time, President Anastasiades reiterated that “Turkey is not excluded from the wider network of energy synergies which have been developed in the region, which promote the region’s security, stability and prosperity.”
He said that foremost, what is required is that Turkey puts an end to is illegal activities both against the Republic of Cyprus and a number of other countries, which in any case are contrary to good neighbourly relations and the goals served by the cooperation between countries.
Referring to the effort to end the energy isolation of Cyprus, President Anastasiades spoke of the three important projects which are being promoted as common interest project by the EU.
The three projects are, the EuroAsia Interconnector, connecting Israel, Cyprus and Greece through a subsea electricity cable; the natural gas pipeline EastMed, which seeks to transport natural gas to continental Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean for the construction of which Cyprus has signed an agreement with Greece and Israel and is at a final studies stage; and the infrastructure for the reception of liquefied natural gas in Cyprus for electricity production.
He also said that Cyprus fully supports the EuroAfrica Interconnetor which will connect Cyprus with Egypt and Greece and noted the historic milestone, as he put it, of the official establishment of the regional intergovernmental organisation “East Mediterranean Gas Forum”, last September.
President Anastasiades recalled that Cyprus is one of the Forum’s founding members together with Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine, adding that its goal is to create a sustainable natural gas market in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is precisely why the Forum has garnered the full support of both the EU and the USA as in essence it is a forum of structured dialogue on matters which have to do with the technical and commercial cooperation between countries who either import, export or even just transport natural gas.
President Anastasiades also referred to the goal for green growth and the cyclical economy, pointing out among other things that Cyprus has met since 2018 its mandatory goals for 2020 on the final gross energy consumption from renewable energy sources and that its 2020 goal for energy saving will also be met.