Energy Minister George Papanastasiou reaffirmed Cyprus’ commitment to proceed with its plans for the transportation of natural gas from the region, emphasising its importance for electricity generation within the country and for subsequent liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
Despite potential geopolitical reactions, Papanastasiou expressed his determination to move forward with the project.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Sidikek Peo trade union, which focused on the Cyprus Electricity Authority, Papanastasiou stressed the need to reduce the cost of electricity bills.
He stated that achieving this goal would be possible through importing natural gas via a pipeline from the region, as opposed to relying on LNG, whose prices have significantly risen due to the war in Ukraine.
Under the new government’s revised policy, Cyprus intends to import natural gas from Israeli gas fields and gas reserves in its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The imported gas will serve both for electricity generation and for liquefaction, enabling Cyprus to export modular LNG to European and other markets.
To discuss this proposal, a workshop is scheduled for May 29, which will bring together energy companies operating in the Cypriot EEZ as well as those involved in the upstream and downstream sectors, he said.
The Minister highlighted that this plan has received approval from Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides. While there might be geopolitical reactions, the country must ultimately rely on its own resources and stand independently, Papanastasiou stated.
“We will import natural gas from our neighbourhood, and perhaps our own, without losing it here and there. Cyprus will prioritise its interests above all others.” He further noted that if any surplus quantities remain, the government could consider exporting them, but national interests would always come first.
Furthermore, Minister Papanastasiou pledged his support for the EAC efforts to increase production from renewable sources and stressed that it should play a crucial role in setting lower electricity prices.
Exploration activities in the Cypriot EEZ have thus far revealed substantial gas reserves. These include 4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in the Aphrodite gas field in bloc 12, 5 to 8 tcf in the Glaucus gas field in block 1, and recent discoveries in block 6, such as Cronos 1 with a gross mean of 2.5 tcf and Zeus 1 with an estimated quantity between 2 and 3 tcf. Initial plans considered transporting Cypriot natural gas quantities to LNG plants in Egypt for liquefaction.
Papanastasiou is scheduled to visit Israel in mid-June to discuss the proposal for natural gas transfers to Cyprus. Additionally, he will continue efforts to resolve the dispute concerning the extent of the Aphrodite reservoir and its potential connection to the adjacent Yishai gas field in the Israeli EEZ.