Joint task force to facilitate energy majors’ relocation
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.