Joint task force to fa­cil­i­tate en­ergy ma­jors’ re­lo­ca­tion

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The En­ergy and Trans­port Min­is­ters agreed on Mon­day with big oil com­pa­nies TO­TAL, ENI and Noble to set up a tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee that would take note of their needs with a view to re­lo­cat­ing their sup­port fa­cil­i­ties from Lar­naca to Li­mas­sol port.

The de­ci­sion fol­lows last week’s re­fusal by a nar­row vote of the Lar­naca mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil to re­new the oil gi­ants’ per­mits fir a fur­ther six months, prompt­ing the govern­ment to say it could re­lo­cated them to Li­mas­sol.

The two Min­is­ters met on Mon­day with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the three com­pa­nies and stressed that the so­lu­tion to be found should be per­ma­nent, with En­ergy Min­is­ter Yior­gos Lakkotrypis stress­ing that the timetable for TO­TAL is more ur­gent as the com­pany is mak­ing its plans that in­clude ex­ploratory drilling in 2016.

“We agreed with the com­pa­nies to set up im­me­di­ately a tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee, to look into the space the com­pa­nies re­quire and the time-frames they have in mind so to con­clude to what is the best so­lu­tion to serve the hy­dro­car­don in­dus­try,” Trans­port Min­is­ter Mar­ios Deme­tri­ades said fol­low­ing the meet­ing.

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion, Deme­tri­ades said the is­sue for the com­pa­nies to re­lo­cate their sup­port fa­cil­i­ties to an­other neigh­bour­ing coun­try was not on the ta­ble.

“We are dis­cussing with pro­vide them space in the port of Li­mas­sol. What is im­por­tant is to fa­cil­i­tate their needs and to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion,” he added.

Deme­tri­ades said the com­mit­tee is ex­pected to con­clude its work within the next few weeks.

How­ever Lakkotrypis said the time­frame for the French TO­TAL is only ten days.

“The so­lu­tion on the land spa­ces for TO­TAL is ur­gent as there is plan­ning un­der­way for (ex­ploratory) drilling in 2016 and we should go through all th­ese nec­es­sary pro­ce­dures con­cern­ing both the land spa­ces and the drilling it­self,” he said.

Lakkotrypis noted that the com­pany in­formed the govern­ment that a re­lo­ca­tion from Lar­naca to Li­mas­sol would re­sult in a de­lay of three to four months to the drilling sched­uled for Septem­ber.

“If the so­lu­tion is per­ma­nent then the de­lay is man­age­able.” he added. “There is time, we are within our time-frames but we want the drilling to pro­ceed as soon as pos­si­ble,” Lakkotrypis con­cluded.

Last Mon­day, the Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil of Lar­naca re­jected re­quests by French To­tal and Ital­ian ENI re­gard­ing the use of sup­port ser­vices pro­vided by MED­SERV for their off­shore hy­dro­car­bons ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties.

Lakkotrypis said that he had a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Li­mas­sol Mayor An­dreas Chris­tou, with the lat­ter as­sur­ing him once more that the town is ready to host en­ergy com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in Cyprus. The com­pa­nies’ in­ten­tions re­main to be seen on Mon­day, the Min­is­ter con­cluded.

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