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Green light for second interim gas tender

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis at the 24th Meeting of the Energy Charter Conference in Nicosia yesterday

THE CABINET yesterday gave the go-ahead for the launch of a second tender for interim supplies of natural gas for the purpose of domestic electricity generation.

Reports said the new tender would provide for a contract of at least seven years, with an option to renew for 1 +1 years.

The Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA), by law the sole importer and distributor of natural gas on the island, is soon set to invite expressions of interest.

The first tender, launched in September 2012, was terminated in October this year after DEFA failed to reach agreement with any of the bidders.

That tender was scrapped shortly after talks between DEFA and preferred bidder Itera, a Russian concern, came to nothing.

The objective is to reduce the cost of electricity by lowering generation costs. Natural gas is cheaper than the heavy fuel oil which the electricity utility currently relies on to generate power.

The intention of the previous tender had been to decrease the cost to end-consumers by at least 10 per cent.

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypris yesterday stressed that the promotion of investments in energy was ‘of the utmost importance’

He was addressing the 24th Meeting of the Energy Charter Conference, in Nicosia, which ends today. The conference was organised by the energy ministry in cooperation with the Energy Charter Secretariat.

More than 140 participants from 81 countries, including ministers, deputy ministers, top officials and academics are attending the conference.

Lakkotrypis said recent discoveries of oil and natural gas in Cyprus’ offshore waters, necessitated not only the legal agreements with neighbours, but also large scale infrastructure, to sustainably exploit such large amounts of resources and deliver them for use in the European and global markets.

“For these reasons, a series of projects, included in the European Commission’s list of Projects of Common Interest, is currently on the way. The cluster of projects commercially known as “EuroAsia Interconnector” will connect the electricity markets of Israel, Cyprus and Greece”, he added.

He also said that a natural gas pipeline, linking Cyprus’ offshore platforms to Greece through Cyprus, would serve as a direct, steady flow supply to the European market.

He pointed out the significance of the LNG Liquefaction Terminal, in combination with the “Mediterranean Gas Storage” Project, which would enable Cyprus to supply natural gas to many terminals in Europe and worldwide.

“As you can understand, protection and promotion of investments in energy is of the utmost importance. With the increasing interdependence between the world’s energy exporting, transit and importing countries, it is beyond doubt that legal frameworks such us the Energy Charter Treaty, are crucial for creating a level playing field and medicating investment risk in the energy sector,” he concluded.

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Sven Alkalaj and the Deputy Director General of DG Energy of the European Commission, Fabrizio Barbaso, also addressed the opening session.

In their remarks they pointed out the significance of sustainable energy, adding that the issue of energy security is a complex one and a series of issues need to be taken into account.

Speeches were given later by senior officials from the Russian Ministry of Energy, the UK Energy Department, the Italian Foreign Minister, academics and scientists from notable universities, institutions and organisations from the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Finland and Japan.

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