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Cyprus poised to sign natural gas supply contract by year’s end

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis

Cyprus is set to sign a contract to supply natural gas to the domestic market by the end of the year, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday.

“The aim is to complete the development project for the necessary infrastructure and the natural gas provision process in the Cypriot market for the electricity production purposes by the end of 2021,” he said.

The Natural Gas Infrastructure Company (Etyfa) is in consultations to sign the first bidder in attempts to finalise the contract by the end of the year, he said.

Referring to the project, he added that it is expected to be completed within 24 months. EAC has a 30 per cent shareholding in Etyfa.

On June 4, the Natural Gas Public Company (Defa) published a preselection of suppliers procedure either for the supply of natural gas quantities on the basis of a long-term contract, or for the supply of natural gas through an immediate delivery purchase, on the basis of multiple agreements or both. By September 6, the deadline of the procedure, 25 companies had expressed their interest.

Lakkotrypis said at the beginning of 2020, both a competition for the medium-term/long-term supply of liquefied natural gas and an Open Season procedure for potential liquefied gas buyers will be announced.

During a meeting last Friday at the presidential palace, sources said President Nicos Anastasiades made it clear that Defa must go ahead with the procedures for the provision of natural gas in Cyprus, despite problems which have arisen by the exclusion of Aktor from the joint venture.

Defa had excluded Aktor SA which took part in the joint venture JV China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co Ltd and Metron S.A., together with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co. Ltd and Wilhelmsen Ship Management Limited and had been evaluated as the best candidate for the project, following a recommendation by Cyprus’ Auditor General due to its connection with Helector Cyprus Ltd.

The meeting on Friday aimed to fast track the procedure after, among other things, a decision by the European Investments Bank to stop funding new projects on fossil fuels, including natural gas from 2022. Cyprus is seeking to be funded by EIB with about €150 million for the project.

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