Efforts are underway to develop Cyprus’ natural gas as there is interest from both the EU and the private sector, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said on Monday.

Speaking on CyBC radio, she said the second round of exploratory drilling in block six is crucial, adding that the works there are set to be completed in November.

Initial results by Eni/TotalEnergies in August uncovered a ‘significant’ gas discovery in the Cronos-1 well located about 160 kilometres off the coast of Cyprus in block six.

There has been renewed interest in the Eastern Mediterranean’s gas deposits amid the ongoing energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But many analysts believe that Turkey’s threats seriously dampen the prospects of the deposits in Cyprus’ EEZ being utilised.

However, the EU has sought to make progress on the issue by turning the gas deposits into confidence building measures.

In an interview early August with CNA, Ursula von der Leyen spoke about energy cooperation between the two communities. She commented on possible confidence-building measures, saying that “an agreement between the two communities on the exploitation of hydrocarbon resources in the Cypriot EEZ… can start a wider discussion on energy management in Cyprus.”

Elsewhere, Pilides said that the government is to also investigate accusations of rampart profiteering amongst some in the renewable energy sector. She said that they may investigate the finances of some the companies involved.

Initial results are expected from the finance ministry in September, she added.

Pilides also said that more photovoltaic projects are expected soon.

In July, the Electricity Authority Cyprus (EAC) announced a partnership with Holy Archdiocese of Cyprus which will see the construction of 14 additional photovoltaic parks with a capacity of 84 MW.