South Cyprus gas exploration plans develop

South Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis has announced his government’s strategy on exploiting natural gas reserves in Cyprus’ EEZ. This includes plans to build a gas liquefaction (LNG) terminal.

The minister, speaking on Thursday before the House Commerce Committee said that the creation of a national hydrocarbons fund was in process under the umbrella of the Finance Ministry.

Lakkotrypis added that Cyprus was now on the energy map according to the European Council. Asked why there had been delays in these processes, the minister said that the process was complex and also pointed to current geopolitical complications as regards the gas finds.

Turkey disputes the rights of South Cyprus to claim the EEZ for itself without reference to the TRNC particularly blocs 5 and 6. Recently Ankara expressed an interest in exploring blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7 for itself.

None of which appears to have stopped the South making its plans. He reaffirmed the government’s position that oil extraction must take place end of 2019 beginning of 2020. Lakkotrypis also said that soon the government will sign a MoU with Houston-based Noble for the LNG.

In his statements, the Minister said that government is considering the merging of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company (KRETYK) with Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) with the aim to create an optimal organization.

Cyprus entered the natural gas scene in late 2011, when US-based Noble Energy discovered a gross mean of 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Cyprus` block 12.

Contracts were signed with the ENI/KOGAS consortium in blocks 2, 3 and 9 within Cyprus’ EEZ and Total for blocks 10 and 11 in the context of the 2nd licensing round.

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