Chevron’s call for synergies between companies regarding natural gas in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is positive, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said on Wednesday.

“Our ministry’s position has always been very clear. Cyprus prioritises this, it is very important that the natural gas and natural riches in the Cypriot EEZ be exploited as soon as possible, and to this end, our position was that synergies should be made,” he said.

He was speaking on the sideline of the submission of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (Cera)’s annual report, saying the existing infrastructure should be “put into use”, and that “each company should not try to exploit each deposit separately.”

He said that should synergies be made, “there can be shared infrastructure and a joint exploitation of deposit,” adding that the Energy ministry “will also facilitate these companies entering into some kind of dialogue to complete the requisite infrastructure projects and make it possible to exploit the deposits.”

Additionally, he touched on the subject of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, describing it as a “geopolitical burden in the region”, and said “with every crisis that develops in the region, Cyprus is exposed, as its energy supply is heavily dependent on external factors.”

To solve this issue, he said, Cyprus must “make use of its natural riches” in terms of natural gas, “but at the same time, must make use of other means of energy production, such as solar and wind.”

Meanwhile, Chevron has been given until Friday to set out its position in writing in response to a letter sent by the government concerning the Aphrodite offshore gas field.

On this matter, Papanastasiou said the deadline is “not an ultimatum” but that he expects a response.

“We will wait for the company’s position in writing on December 1, and from there, both parties will have to build on that position so that trust can begin to be developed between us,” he said.