Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis made clear on Friday that that solving the Cyprus problem was never a prerequisite for the government when deciding whether to move forward with its energy plans.
He said the negotiating process for the third licensing round for oil and gas exploration within Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ ) was going ahead.
In statements in Larnaca Lakkotrypis, in response to a question said: “We have never put the Cyprus problem as a prerequisite in order to move forward with our energy plans and this is evident from all our decisions.”
“Right now Total is planning its drilling in block 11 due to take place within this year while we are waiting to receive the plans ENI has for its licensed blocks,” he added.
He said Cyprus was in the middle of the negotiating process for the third licensing round, adding that once that was completed, more dates for drilling in the newly licensed blocks would be set.
Replying to a question on problems which had reportedly arisen at Limassol port with regard to support services for gas exploration companies, Lakkotrypis said that it seemed the issues were now resolved and he was expecting to be informed officially by the companies as to when they will go ahead.
Asked whether Total was set to go ahead with a drill within the first half of the year, Lakkotrypis said it remained to be seen, adding that his ministry has asked to be informed in writing of the exact date the drilling rig would reach the block so that work could begin.
He also said, when asked, that he expected the island’s first-ever casino licence to be approved.