An inter-ministerial committee tasked with oversight of the gradual relocation of fuel storage facilities from Larnaca’s coastline to Vasiliko, in the Limassol district, said it has made some progress following its first meeting held last Friday.
Moving the facilities has been a long-standing demand by Larnaca residents, due to concerns over safety and health.
The inter-ministerial panel, convening for the first time last week, said that two petroleum companies, having secured the relevant permits, have begun construction works at Vassiliko on expanding current facilities or building new ones.
According to an announcement, two other fuel companies have chosen the interim solution – having their own facilities temporarily hosted on property owned by other companies currently based in Vasiliko.
The signing of agreements and binding contracts was expected soon, the statement added.
Regarding liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facilities, the committee heard that actions are underway for licensing the four companies engaged in the business.
Present at the meeting were the mayors of Larnaca and Livadia, with observer status, although they are interested parties.
In June of this year, the energy ministry announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and six private companies for the removal of the fuel storage facilities at Larnaca to Vassiliko.
Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said that even though the municipalities from the areas in question were not party to the MoU that he submitted to the cabinet, the plan would go ahead and a timetable had been fixed with a deadline of December 31, 2019 for moving the liquid fuels, and the creation of LPG facilities by December 31, 2020.
Earlier, Larnaca municipality had rejected a third draft of the MoU on the relocation of the oil and gas firms from the district by 2020 and said it was no longer willing to engage in further discussions as long as there was no progress.
At the time, Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras explained that they rejected the MoU over a clause giving the right to any signatory to opt out of the deal if they wished to, by giving a month’s written notice.