Search is on for natural gas supplier

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Search is on for natural gas supplier

Post  Twosox on Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:21 pm

Courtesy of Cyprus Mail

THE GOVERNMENT and Electricity Authority (EAC) yesterday committed to finding the most cost efficient supplier of natural gas as soon as possible.

Already a team of high level officials is preparing to visit a number of potential suppliers, including Egypt and Algeria.

The government is also proposing to go ahead with the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) land terminal, although reports said this could take as long as 2015 to complete.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides said the ministry and EAC were prepared to make as many trips as necessary to find the right supplier or suppliers of natural gas.

Keeping in line with European Union environmental criteria, Cyprus is obliged to diversify to cleaner and safer forms of energy. As a result, the introduction of natural gas (mainly for electricity generation) is considered essential to the energy sector and beneficial for the economy.

Under the former government, there had been talk of temporarily supplying the island with natural gas through an offshore terminal pending the construction of a land terminal. But a new Cabinet decision is expected to cancel all previous decisions, as everyone involved strives to find the speediest, cheapest supplier of natural gas.

Paschalides said once the government had conducted a thorough assessment of all its options, it would put the project out to tender.

“If we can find another form of natural gas we will examine it, we are not ruling out anything. Thankfully the EAC and its union share the same view,” he said.

The EAC Professional Employees’ Union (SEPAHK) urged the government to press ahead with both the importation of natural gas as well as the construction of a land terminal as soon as possible.

The union suggested the EAC undertake the project on the basis that it had the knowhow, experience and capability of managing such a large project.

According to SEPAHK president Sotos Savvas, it was less important at this stage to look at the details and more important to focus on finding a supplier.

EAC Chairman Harris Thrassou added that natural gas was in high demand and the sooner Cyprus found a supplier, the more secure it would feel.

It emerged that several countries had already chihuahua down as potential suppliers.

But Paschalides, who was optimistic about the outcome, said a number of countries had other obligations and commitments, hence their inability to provide the island with natural gas.

“When you ask for them to sell something, they have to have it,” the Commerce Minister said.

Although Paschalides was unable to say when he expected the island to have natural gas, he said the ministry would do everything to ensure Cyprus had sufficient energy.
“We will bring natural gas as soon as possible and definitely bring the cheapest we can find,” he said.

The EAC chairman said a team of high level representatives would visit a number of potential suppliers of natural gas, starting with Egypt.

Thrassou said there was a common policy across the chihuahua to speed up the process and to find a supplier as soon as possible.

The government, Attorney-general and EAC were all in favour of working together to bridge their differences and to find some common ground on how best to import and manufacture natural gas in Cyprus, he said.

“We believe we are on the right track to speeding up the procedure to secure a steady supplier of the cheapest possible form of natural gas as soon as possible,” he said.

Paschalides said it was possible to make up some of the time lost dithering about what type of natural gas to bring to the island and how.

Nevertheless, he seemed less keen about allowing the EAC to manage the entire project as this went against competition regulations and allowing the authority to import, process and distribute the natural gas was not in the consumer’s or EAC’s best interest.

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