The chairman of the Cyprus Ports Authority, the government agency which administers Cyprus’s ports, said that hydrocarbons companies estimate that Larnaca benefited from their activities with an annual amount of €8m.
“It’s not that they only employ people in Larnaca, but also that some of their high ranking executives rent houses and apartments in Larnaca,” Alekos Michaelides, who is also permanent secretary at the ministry of transport, communications and works, said in an interview to state radio CyBC on Monday.
Michaelides said that Larnaca’s municipal councillors, who decided a week ago to reject a request by hydrocarbon companies to continue using the Larnaca port for further six months, “surely knew about that and I am sure they factored it in their decision making”.
The decision of the Larnaca municipality angered hydrocarbon companies, which had already sunk several millions of euros in infrastructure in Larnaca -amid declining revenue in the oil and gas sector- prompting them to reconsider relocating abroad. A high-ranking executive of a hydrocarbon company who spoke on condition of anonymity said that this investment “will go down the drain”.
Energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Saturday that French energy giant Total, one of the companies involved in hydrocarbons exploration in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, decided to transfer its operations to Limassol. Lakkotrypis and his colleague minister of transport Marios Demetriades are scheduled to meet with delegations of hydrocarbon companies providing oil and gas exploration support services on Monday to discuss “available options” at the Limassol port.
“I don’t know whether we shall have their final decision whether they are interested in Limassol,” the chairman of the ports authority said. “What I do know is that we timely informed companies that there were available sites in Limassol, and we repeated this recently to Total. That said, it is up to the companies to decide what they want to do”.
Michaelides added that he didn’t believe that any of the companies would leave Cyprus as Total intends to drill for oil and gas in September, adding that they “will likely go for Limassol”.
The government is in talks with bidders for the privatisation of the Limassol port’s commercial operations.