South could export LNG to Europe by 2022

Cyprus could begin exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe by 2022, the head of the country’s National Hydrocarbons Company said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Tuesday, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

“It is important for us to start monetizing our resources in rather tight deadlines,” the head of Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company Tula Onoufriou, said.

“Taking into consideration the current situation, we assess our capacities to start LNG exports in 2022,” she said.

“As Cyprus is an EU country and has its own resources of natural gas, the republic can make a contribution into ensuring energy security, becoming an energy hub in the region with the infrastructure necessary for supplies to Europe,” she added.

Following the deteriorating conditions in the Ukraine, Europe and the USA support the idea that Cyprus could be an alternative source of gas supplies for Europe, reducing the region’s dependence on Russia, which meets about 30 percent of its gas needs.

In order to fulfil this objective, Cyprus would have to construct an LNG plant which would cost around 8.5 billion euros, which is half of the South’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

However, Onoufriou said the decision on the plant’s construction could be made only if this project proves to be commercially viable.

Currently estimated resources in Bloc 12 of the Aphrodite gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cyprus, discovered by US Noble Energy Company, are at around 140 billion cubic meters and are not enough to finance an LNG plant.

Further drilling is required to find out if the South has sufficient volumes of gas in order to turn it into a regional energy hub, Onoufriou said.

“Within 6-12 months, all these works are to give us grounds to make the strategic decisions,” she said.

“If we get the confirmation that there is a sufficient amount of gas, we will be able to continue developing plans to construct a land-based LNG plant, if no, we will have to again assess the capacities.”

An alternative would be the construction of a floating LNG terminal, she added.

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