Do we need LNG, after all?
E DII TO RII A L
The UN’s Special Representative for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, has said it several times: the island’s gas reserves could be a godsend as much as a curse. Reading between the lines, he is just conveying a message from his paymasters, that as long as Turkey’s influence reaches deep into the corridors of power of the U.S., the U.N. and other protectors of Western interests, Greek Cypriots have little chance of ever seeing any benefit from the oil and gas finds in the offshore fields.
Perhaps, then, Cyprus ought to consider an alternative option – to leave the hydrocarbon finds in the ground, for the time being. With oil and gas prices receding by 60% in the past year and with the popularity of shale gas rising, no one knows where the price of the commodity would be by 2020 or 2021 when our first supply is expected to come on stream.
This would not be an act of cowardice in the face of the Turkish military might. On the contrary, it would send out a clear message that “as long as we are not allowed to utilise these resources now, then no one should.” And that could put an end, for now, to Ankara’s bullying tactics and stoking its relations with others mightier than itself, such as Israel.
Listening to the shallow comments and criticism from the immature politicians of Cyprus (after all, they were the ones who said ‘No’ to the first bailout plan and look where that got us), can anyone be trusted with properly and fairly managing the subsea wealth on behalf of future generations?
Perhaps, then, we should consider focusing on what we have today, the grossly underutilised solar energy, for which past and present governments have failed miserably to encourage, with the exception of the occasional solar or wind park dotted here and there.
Had we set our priorities to reverse the EU action plan for alternative sources of energy to account for 20% of our output by 2020 and had we set our target at 80% of generated output, then by the time the current phase of offshore explorations end and we all agree on how to pipe it out, the potential wealth generated may not be that much of a need, as much as a want.
In his effort to provide a hint of an explanation behind what drives radical Islamist thugs, Jeffrey Sachs, a crusader of sustained development and perhaps even an “anti-hydrocarbonist”, suggests in his column (see Back Page) that “ending the terror of radical Islam will require ending the West’s wars for control in the Middle East. Fortunately, the Age of Oil is gradually coming to an end. We should make that end come faster: climate safety will require that we leave most fossil-fuel resources in the ground.”
Had we sought the advice of Sachs, perhaps oil and gas wealth would not even be worth discussing in the current phase of the Cyprus talks that have reached an impasse.