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Minister adopts a wait-and-see on gas

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis is on his way to London and Houston this week to sound out big oil companies on any possible interest in Cyprus, but he is running out of time as the deadline in the third licensing round is two weeks away.

The minister spoke on state radio on Monday saying that a number of energy companies showed interest in Cyprus a few weeks ago in Houston, during special presentations on technical and geological specifications of the area.

Lakkotrypis is following up on his Houston trip in hopes that some companies will show a real interest, turning abstract ideas into more specific plans.

“The goal here is to have these companies choose Cyprus in having a presence in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Lakkotrypis.

The minister also played down the significance of energy agreements between Israel and Turkey. He said they are not a priority now as Israel’s planning regarding their options was still being made in a broader spectrum, which pointed to sales agreements between Israel and Jordan according to Lakkotrypis.

Turkey has recently made bold moves by striking friendly tones with Israel and Russia.

Critics have called on the Cyprus government and Lakkotrypis himself to give answers to the new developments, which point to a close cooperation between Turkey and Israel while raising fears that Cyprus could be left out of the loop.

But when asked if Turkish moves towards Israeli gas could have a positive impact, the minister said that any development for stability in the region serves to minimise the risk that big companies have to take when they decide to come to the Mediterranean.

The deadline for the third licensing round ends July 22 and the minister said President Nicos Anastasiades is having contacts on the matter.

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