The Nicosia energy workshop taking place on Monday on the Israel-to-Cyprus gas pipeline is the first significant milestone in shaping the national energy policy, Energy Minister Giorgos Papanastasiou has said.

Stakeholders will try to assess the investment interest for the pipeline’s infrastructure construction during the workshop with industry players, the minister noted.

This is the first milestone of the entire effort, concerning the infrastructure to be created, Panastasiou told the Cyprus News Agency on Sunday about the event taking place on Monday and Tuesday in the capital.

He added that the second milestone is his visit to Israel on June 14-15.

During his visit, the minister will discuss the natural gas flow in quantities suitable to support the gas transportation project from Israel to Cyprus and subsequently determine the interest for export to Europe.

The energy minister is scheduled to travel to Israel on June 14-15, leading a team of technocrats with a legal background, expertise in maritime law, and knowledge of pipelines. As he mentioned, there will be meetings at the corresponding ministry of the country.

When asked about the road map for energy that the president announced would be released soon, Papanastasiou noted that it would be specified after the results of both the workshop and the visit to Israel.

The workshop titled “The Cyprus Gateway: Natural Gas to Power and Liquefaction,” organised by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry in collaboration with the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC), has managed to attract significant interest from internationally active companies across the natural gas and electricity value chain.

Papanastasiou pointed out that the interest exceeded their expectations.

“We initially aimed to target specific companies operating in the Cypriot EEZ, as they had previously approached us with inquiries regarding infrastructure planning and construction. However, there were also pleasant surprises from other companies that had never before shown interest in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the minister said.

It appears, he added, that the Eastern Mediterranean has started to attract attention, and Europe sees it as an alternative energy source that will last for the next decades, despite the existing strategy for green energy.

The companies that came as a surprise included one or two energy companies and two technology companies, who learned about the workshop from the industry and requested to participate. He added that these are highly specialised companies in their respective fields, and some of them have connections to Israel.

Furthermore, private companies involved in the supply chain for the specific project for the transfer of natural gas from Israel to Cyprus, will also come from Israel.

The workshop will start at 9am Cyprus time, with an opening address by the energy minister, followed by a keynote speech at 10am by President Nikos Christodoulides. In his speech, the President will outline Cyprus’ objectives and direction.

It is expected to last approximately three hours, after which there will be private meetings between some of the participants and the energy ministry for clarifications and questions.

“We have high hopes for tomorrow,” said Papanastasiou, noting, however, that they do not expect an immediate response. The real interest, he said, is anticipated to be formally expressed by companies upon their return to their bases, as they evaluate what they have heard.