Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides stressed Monday the Republic’s of Cyprus added value when it comes to exploitation of the natural gas of the Eastern Mediterranean, following his participation in the workshop “The Cyprus Gateway: Natural Gas to Power and Liquefaction,” organised by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry and the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC) in Nicosia.

The workshop aims to present the proposal of the Republic of Cyprus to international companies operating across the entire spectrum of natural gas exploration and trade. The proposal involves the construction of a pipeline that will transport gas from Israel to Cyprus, where it will be used for the domestic market as well as for liquefaction in a facility in Vasilikos, enabling exports to European markets.

Speaking to journalists, President Christodoulides emphasized that the workshop is evidence of how high the utilization of natural gas is on the government’s list of priorities. According to the President, two and a half months after taking office, the new administration demonstrates a clear direction.

“There are three key factors. The first concerns the high electricity prices in the domestic market, the second relates to the EU’s efforts to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas, and the third pertains to the prospects in the Eastern Mediterranean, in combination with the excellent relationships that the Republic of Cyprus maintains with neighbouring countries,” he said.

He added that the government’s strategy aims to bring together these three elements, with the primary goal being the domestic market. At the same time, he pointed out that the current opportunity at the European level should be seized and the EU’s effort to wean off Russian natural gas should be strengthened.

When asked why investors should prefer Cyprus over the two ready-to-use liquefaction terminals in its immediate neighbourhood, Christodoulides reminded that Cyprus is a member state of the EU and that the purpose of the energy workshop was to present the added value of utilizing Cyprus.

He added that the solution proposed by Cyprus does not negate other options. He also stressed that Cyprus has excellent relationships with neighbouring countries and mentioned that experts and the Minister have spoken and will continue to speak about the need to create synergies that will ultimately benefit all countries in the region as well as the EU.

The President was also asked how Chevron’s plan, submitted last Friday to the government, aligns with Cyprus’ interests.

Christodoulides stressed the importance of finally having a development plan, adding that an initial contact has already been made, and Chevron was awaiting the Government’s prompt feedback on their proposal.

He also noted that the workshop was attended by companies operating in the region of Cyprus, companies that believe in the prospects of the Eastern Mediterranean. As he said, all these efforts “are being made in order to be able to announce the government’s final decisions”.

“We have the plan, we have the design, and consultations have progressed significantly. Our priority is the domestic market, meeting the expectations of the Cypriot citizens, while simultaneously leveraging international opportunities,” he explained.

In response to a question about whether the Cypriot government is in constant coordination with the Israeli government regarding its proposal, the President of the Republic said that, “we discuss with all governments.” He reminded that he had visited Egypt and Israel, accompanied by the Minister of Energy, who will be traveling to Israel in the coming days.

“Yes, we are in coordination with neighbouring governments; we have excellent relations, and we are discussing our plan,” he concluded.

In his opening remarks to the workshop, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said that the workshop is intended to gather key industry experts and representatives in one room, in order to present an efficient and mutually beneficial alternative for monetising East Med gas through Cyprus.

He added that experts from the Ministry and CHC, as well as the President of DEFA, which is Cyprus’ Natural Gas Public Company, will present some of Cyprus initiative’s main elements, as well as important insights and projections.

“During this two-day workshop, myself and our team of experts, remain at your disposal to discuss and exchange views on any part of our strategy. We are especially looking forward to our one-on-one meetings to be held starting this afternoon and throughout the day tomorrow”, he said to the participants.

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