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NICOSIA, December 20, 23:49 /ITAR-TASS/. Cyprus may count on Russia both as a “possible guarantor of political stability in the region and as a potential energy partner,” Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchy said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Friday.
“Currently, foreign concerns, mostly from the United States, the European Union, Israel and South Korea, are actively participating in energy projects in Cyprus,” he said. “Regrettably, Russian oil and gas companies are standing aloof, although our countries have every possibility to reach new horizons of cooperation in the energy sector. We also have a necessary legal framework.”
According to Osadchy, the outgoing year was one of the most difficult ones for Cyprus because of the economic crisis and consequences of the March decisions of the European Union countries to “cut” bank deposits and restructure the financial system. In these conditions, Cyprus’ government pins hopes on the energy sector as a driving force of the economic revival.
“Big hydrocarbon fields have been discovered in the eastern areas of the Mediterranean Sea in the recent years,” the Russian diplomat noted. “Littoral countries, including Cyprus, have begun intensive prospecting works in their exclusive economic zones. Possible reserves of natural gas in six out of thirteen sections of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone are estimated at 1.1 trillion cubic meters. And according to recently announced data on possible oil reserves, Cyprus’ shelf may have about 1.3 billion barrels of oil.”
Although preliminary, these figures prove that Cyprus has good perspectives for becoming a regional hydrocarbon production and processing centre, the Russian ambassador noted. For these ends, the Cyprus government has worked out a programme for the development of the country’s energy sector, which provides for the construction of a gas liquefying facility and the auxiliary infrastructure. When this programme is implemented, Cyprus will be able to meet its demand in natural gas and, beginning from 2020-2021 even to export gas to meet ten percent of the European Union’s demand. More to it, when the LNG plant is commissioned, Cyprus will have chances to break into the Asian markets too.
As a positive example of the Russian-Cypriot cooperation in the energy sector, Osadchy cited Russian hydrocarbon supplies reaching up to 30,000 tonnes of oil and oil products a year. “Russian oil and gas majors Itera and LUKoil are present in Cyprus,” he said. “Thus, LUKoil accounts for about 12 percent of retail sales of oil products on Cyprus’ domestic market. The company operates 33 filling stations. Its retail sales exceed 90,000 of oil products a year.”
“But the situation is not that smooth as we would like it to be,” Osadchy noted. “The recent negative outcome of talks with Russia’s Itera, which had offered the best price in a tender for gas supplies for Cyprus’ electricity generation sector, gives an impression that someone does not want to see further development of our cooperation in this sector. I hope it would not tell negatively on Russian companies’ interests in developing cooperation with the Cypriot partners. Cyprus may count on Russia not only as a possible guarantor of political stability in the region but also as a potential energy partner.