The relocation of strategic oil reserves from the Larnaca seafront to existing facilities in Vasilikos is expected to be completed by mid-July, energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Monday.
So far, he said, around 23,000 out of a total 127,000 cubic meters of fuel have been moved to Vasilikos.
Earlier this month, the government signed a deal that will see the island’s strategic oil reserves moved from Larnaca and stored at VTTV’s facilities in the Vasilikos area, Limassol.
Lakkotrypis said the government has reached an arrangement with private importers, where the existing reserves held by KODAP (Cyprus Organisation for the Strategic Management of Oil Stocks) will be put on the market, and new reserves transported directly to Vasilikos.
“This facilitates procedures and keeps cost low. We have some issues with certain types of fuel for which consumption is now low, such as heating oil, but these will be transported by tanker.”
Lakkotrypis was speaking after a meeting with the Larnaca municipal council.
In addition to the strategic reserves, private companies will have to move their liquid gas and liquid fuel facilities, in that order, out of Larnaca by the beginning of 2017.
According to the minister, the chief logistical problem for the transfer – the location – is being sorted out.
“On May 5, I wrote to these private companies, giving them one month to submit applications in order that they be granted state land in Vasilikos. Once these applications come in, within the next few days, we shall also take a look at the feasibility studies which the companies prepared, so we can then fix an exact date for their relocation.”
At any rate, the relocation of private fuel facilities to Vasilikos would have to be completed by end- January 2017.
For his part, Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis said the relocation plan is a complex process, but that the government is determined to see it through.
“We are moving beyond mere proclamations…today we discussed environmental restoration and the dismantling of the facilities (in Larnaca), which is already underway, so that we can achieve the goal of a Larnaca with a continuous beachfront from Dhekelia to Mackenzie.”
Relocating Larnaca’soil-based industry to Vasilikos was the subject of a cabinet decision in July 2014, in response to a long-standing demand by Larnaca residents.
In April 2004 the Cyprus Petroleum Refinery was shut down, decommissioned and converted into an oil storage terminal that is still in operation today.
From January 2008, Cyprus has the obligation to maintain national fuel stocks of up to 90 days consumption. This responsibility was assigned to KODAP.
The previous government decided to establish a petroleum products import and storage terminal at Vasilikos, as part of a planned energy centre there.
The Vasilikos oil terminal will include facilities for the storage of operational oil reserves, facilities for the storage of strategic oil reserves, and facilities to allow it to operate as an oil trading and transit hub.
According to Lakkotrypis, the master plan for the Vasilikos energy centre got final approval last week after a consultation process with local communities.