CNA News

Synergies the “magic word” for region’s natural gas development, Minister says

Synergies is the “magic word” when it comes to developing the natural gas resources of the region, Minister of Energy, George Papanastasiou, told a Gas summit held in Limassol, while a US official expressed hope for an increased integration in the region. 

Speaking during the Eastern Mediterranean Energy Conference, Papanastasiou said that as energy transition is placing emphasis on renewables, energy companies look for faster returns on their investments and make energy investments accordingly. 

 “Nowadays with the shorter life span of natural gas because of the targets for renewables we understand that synergies is what investors should be looking for,” the Cypriot Minister added. 

 Papanastasiou presented the “Gas to Power” project, a Cyprus plan entailing actions shaping Cyprus’ energy mix. As he noted Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will be introduced for power generation for the domestic market via the Natural Gas Company (DEFA), while Cyprus will increase its renewable energy, which could be exported via the EuroAsia Interconnector a high-frequency cable linking Cyprus, Greece and Israel. On Cyprus’ natural gas discovery, he said the option is to transfer it to Egypt either for its domestic demand or for liquefaction and export to markets, while options such as import to Cyprus and liquefaction and export via small LNG plants of modular technology remain on the table. 

 On her part, Kimberly Harrington, US Assistant Deputy Secretary of State bureau for energy said that “despite these trying times, the US remains strongly committed to regional cooperation especially on energy.” 

 She pointed out initiatives such as the three-plus-one dialogue between Israel, Greece and Cyprus with the US, as well as the EMGF forum. 

 “Energy partnership and regional energy integration are key and really no place embodies that more than the Eastern Med,” she noted, adding there has been tremendous progress over the last decade and we look forward to see even more. 

Turning to Cyprus she said developing the island’s natural resources would be both good for Cyprus as well as the region, noting that the US “fundamental goal is energy security and cooperation in the region.” 

 Wissam Chbat, Board member and former Chairman of Lebanon’s Petroleum Authority said he hopes not only for a discovery of natural gas reserves in Lebanon, but one that could be monetized. 

 Noting that Lebanon has very good relations with Cyprus and Egypt, Chbat said that Egypt is well suited to a be a hub for the Eastern Mediterranean.