Cyprus expecting more discoveries during the next two years

Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that Turkey’s claims on Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) do not benefit Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots.

Speaking at the DG Energy Conference in Nicosia, the minister said Ankara’s view of their continental shelf would equate to both communities not having any gas fields.

“If we accept this version, Cyprus would be left with 31 per cent of what our EEZ is. It also means that all of the discoveries so far will all fall in different countries,” he said.

Commenting on the island’s future energy plans, Lakkotrypis said they were preparing an extensive exploration plan, which will take approximately 24 months to complete.

“We hope that it would generate even more discoveries than we have so far,” he added.

On Aphrodite, Lakkotrypis said the government is in the process of agreeing the development plan with the gas field’s consortium to be followed by the issuance of exploitation licenses “for transporting this gas via pipeline to Idku, an LNG terminal, where we anticipate we will receive very competitive tolling prices.”

He did not rule out the construction of an LNG plant in Cyprus or a floating LNG plant, while he described the East Med pipeline project, whose feasibility study is funded by the EU, as ambitious.

“We are undergoing the Front End Engineering and Design which will hopefully show how competitive or not the pipeline would be,” he added.

The EU has been a strong believer in the Eastern Mediterranean’s energy prospects, Anne-Charlotte Bournoville, head of the International Relations and Enlargement Unit said at the conference.

Bournoville described the natural gas discoveries in the region as “a game-changer,” adding that they create the potential for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt to export part of these natural gas quantities.

“The EU has been a strong believer in Eastern Mediterranean gas and a strong supporter for many years,” she said during a discussion as part of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers conference titled From North Sea to Eastern Mediterrenean: Collaborating to Maximize the Potential of Hydrocarbon Resources, adding that in the EU 2014 energy security strategy “we made the Eastern Mediterranean gas one of the main pillars of our diversification strategy, together with the southern gas corridor.”

She said that discoveries such as Cyprus’ Aphrodite, Glafkos and Kalypso, as well as Egypt’s Zhor “create opportunities for countries in the region to resolve the energy security needs and a catalyst for regional cooperation since in order to fully benefit from the gas potential they have to cooperate and work together to ensure competitiveness.”