A memorandum of understanding on relocating oil and gas firms from Larnaca by 2020 is expected to be signed after the Easter holidays, it emerged on Tuesday
After a meeting at the presidential palace between President Nicos Anastasiades, the Larnaca mayor and the ministers of interior, transport and energy, a draft memorandum was presented which is expected to be put before the cabinet on Wednesday.
The memorandum outlines a three-step procedure on the relocation as well as a timeframe – an element Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras had been particularly keen on – which includes the possibility of fines and the termination of a company’s operations for those that don’t comply.
According to Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, the first phase involves the transitional relocation of liquid fuels by December 2019 and firms currently based in Larnaca will have at least two terminals to choose from.
The companies will be relocating to either Limassol port or Vassiliko.
The second part concerns making the move permanent by 2020 and relocating liquefied petroleum gas by December 2020.
Lakkotrypis said they had proposed a mechanism for proper oversight to monitor developments. A decree will be issued every three months and developments will be examined by both a team of technocrats and the cabinet at the end of it.
If progress is deemed suitable then the decree will be renewed.
“If not, then the person who violates the decree will face the consequences,” which includes up to a €17,000 fine and the legal procedure to strip the company off their licence.
The Larnaca mayor said he was extremely satisfied, adding that “this may be the first time such serious work on the relocation has taken place.”
“So far, some dates had been decided on without a plan, without a roadmap and without any control as to how we would meet those deadlines.”
The municipal council does have some different opinions on some sections of the memorandum which will be discussed during Thursday’s council meeting.
Lakkotrypis said they were open to suggestions.
Vyras noted he believed the timeframes could be a bit tighter but the overall memorandum met the council’s and residents’ basic requirements.
He said the memorandum was expected to be signed after Easter.