Cyprus Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said that during his discussions with consortiums operating in the Cypriot EEZ he has suggested the option of importing natural gas quantities from the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for power generation in combination with LNG exports via a small LNG plant.

Speaking to CNA on the occasion of comments made by ENI’s Chief Operating Officer for natural resources Guido Brusco to upstream online over ENI’s options to monetize the quantities discovered in block 6, Papanastasiou said that the companies are considering options which have been discussed with the Cypriot government.

After discovering up to 4.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas deposits in Zeus 1 and Cronos 1 in block six, Brusco told upstream online that ENI is considering two options, either a floating LNG or “a tie-in” to Egypt, where ENI is operating the Damietta LNG plant.

“Essentially these are (the options) which they have been considering all along with an additional position put forth by us to ENI that we would like to expedite their decisions and for this reason we have put the option or diverting part of the gas to Cyprus on the table,” Papanastasiou told CNA.

The Energy Minister said that he already held separate courtesy meetings with representatives of the consortiums operating in the Cypriot EEZ and in this context “we put some issues on the table.”

Papanastasiou said the reason of importing part of the Cypriot natural gas quantities in Cyprus is twofold. First natural gas would replace the very expensive conventional fuel for power generation, which would alleviate the burden for households, the industry and the economy in general, while it would expedite natural gas usage before the EU phases out gas, as stipulated by the Fir for 55 package.

Noting that natural gas for power generation in Cyprus is not enough in itself to justify the capital expenditure needed for the necessary infrastructure, Papanastasiou said for this reason Cyprus has suggested the option of LNG exports via a small LNG modular plant.

He furthermore said that the Ministry is drafting a new strategy on way the way forward which will be submitted to the Cyprus President for approval and later to the energy consortiums operating in the Cypriot EEZ.

“The aim is cheaper energy in Cyprus to assist households, the industry and the economy and because that is not enough to justify the necessary infrastructure, we are trying to create an incentive via the LNG modular plant and this will be discussed in a joint meeting where we will present the document,” Papanastasiou added.

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