New Bids for Cyprus Gas Plans

NICOSIA – Hoping that there will be enough natural gas reserves off the island to bring in critical revenues one day, Cyprus is now going to launch a new round of bid to supply the bailed-out country with natural gas to meet domestic needs until it can tap its own offshore supplies.

Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said it will be a seven-year contract with the option of extending it by three more. An earlier round yielded no deal.

U.S. firm Noble Energy in October expressed interest in pumping gas to Cyprus from a field off the country’s south coast, but the project will take time. Noble and its Israeli partners Delek and Avner are looking to develop the field, estimated to hold 3.6 trillion to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Cyprus plans to build an onshore gas processing plant to export excess supply and try to bring in more monies as it gets alone for now on a 10 billion euro ($13.67 billion) bailout from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).

That came with onerous conditions, including austerity and confiscating 47.5 percent of bank accounts of more than 100,000 euros ($137,000) to go along with 13 billion euros ($17 billion) in other spending cuts and revenue-raisers.

Turkey, which has unlawfully occupied the northern third of the island since invading 1974 – and where it remains in defiance of international law and United Nation’s non-binding resolutions- has warned that it wants a share of any oil or gas discoveries.