The two technical committees appointed by Cyprus and Israel, tasked with putting plans into actions on electricity and natural gas projects, are to begin contacts within 15 days.

Energy Minister George Papanastasiou explained on Thursday that there is “serious interest from companies for what we are aiming for”.

The minister reiterated that the plan is to get natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Cyprus for electricity production.

“Our first goal is to reduce the costs of conventional electricity production, in the energy mix – including from green sources – we will then have a kilowatt-hour cost that is more sustainable for Cyprus,” he told reporters.

He highlighted that Cyprus is currently about fifth in the EU in terms of highest electricity costs. That must be addressed as it impacts both consumers, but also businesses, which then become less competitive and threatens the wider economy, Papanastasiou said.

Asked about potential upcoming trips on the matter, the minister said that the next one is likely to be in the US to discuss the issue with the companies based there. Those companies, he explained, deal with both Cyprus’ EEZ deposits and Israel’s.

Proposals by the new government, in power since March, represent a markedly different approach to its predecessors in getting gas to Europe and other markets.

Rather than the 2,000km EastMed pipeline to continental Europe, the new government is proposing a much shorter one linking Cyprus to fields off Israel. Once in Cyprus, the gas could be converted to LNG and shipped to Europe.