The government camp and main opposition Akel traded barbs on Tuesday, after the latter dismissed as fanfare the current administration’s pronouncements on energy projects.

The exchange came a day after a meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and a team from Total, with Energy Minister Natasa Pilides sounding upbeat by speaking of a ‘speeding up’ of offshore energy projects this year.

Quizzed by reporters, Pilides qualified that the companies – Total and ENI – had yet to present a specific development plan for their gas discoveries in Block 6 offshore Cyprus.

In a stinging rebuke of government policies, Akel spokesman Giorgos Koukoumas effectively accused the Anastasiades administration of spinning tall tales.

“These natural gas reservoirs which the Disy government tends to discover prior to elections remind us of the infamous S-300 [missile system] which they used to fire off every night during the election campaign [of 1998], but which never came to Cyprus after those elections.”

Koukoumas added that the “failure of the Disy government is utter. After ten years of pre-election fiestas about finding gas reservoirs and energy deals, the minister of commerce [Pilides] has nothing specific to announce.”

Akel also took a swipe at Disy’s presidential candidate Averof Neophytou, whom it accused of doublespeak.

“Faced with this failure, he remembered a few days before the elections to say that he has always disagreed with the energy plans of the relevant ministry, whereas not only did he never say a word during the previous ten years, but also took part in the planning and fanfare of the government.”

Koukoumas said the track record of the current administration was clear. “They are handing over a country which is unfortified in energy terms, and with sky-high electricity costs due to the penalties Cyprus pays for carbon emissions.

“And rather than facilitating the Electricity Authority in the area of renewables, they help private companies profit to the detriment of the public. In other words, they couldn’t care less about the people, they’re indifferent to the environment, and their incompetence is being paid for by the country, the economy and society.”

Hitting back, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos slammed Akel for what he called their nihilistic critique.

He recalled that it is the current administration which struck agreements with energy giants like ExxonMobil, Qatar, ENI and Total.

Only recently, he went on, there took place three drills resulting in two gas finds. In addition, a series of seismic surveys have taken place, while an additional drill is scheduled in Block 12 during the first half of the year.

“Once again we call on Akel to stop investing in nihilism. A reliable opposition does not invest in barren and nihilistic policies in a bid to erase from people’s memory the works and days of their own sad administration,” he said.