THE Natural Gas Public Company will be inviting expressions of interest for the import of natural gas for power generation purposes.
The so-called ‘interim gas’ tender, to be announced over the next few days, will be published in the EU journal and the local press.
Speaking to the state broadcaster, energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said yesterday the intention is to complete the whole tender process within four months.
Interested parties are being asked to submit tenders for a seven-year period, beginning 2016, with an option of extending the contract for three additional years.
The minister said the tender documents stipulate that the operation of the Dhekeleia power plant is not mandatory, thereby maximising the quantities of gas needed to power the island’s grid.
Cyprus is currently exclusively reliant on the more expensive heavy fuel oil to generate electricity.
Lakkotrypis was asked whether the relatively long period during which Cyprus would import natural gas hinted that the mooted project to build an onshore LNG terminal has been put on ice.
The minister acknowledged that the government is looking at “other options” for developing and monetising its offshore hydrocarbons reserves.
A floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility was one such option, he said.
Land-based terminals are far costlier and more difficult to finance than floating facilities as they are built for far greater capacities of gas.
Cyprus’ proven gas reserves so far are not sufficient for a land-based processing plant.
“But I want to stress that we are not abandoning the LNG terminal,” Lakkotrypis added.