NICOSIA — Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister said that Cyprus could supply his country and other central European nations with natural gas to lessen the region’s heavy dependence on Russian deliveries.
Kristian Vigenin said that Cyprus could be key to an envisioned “north-south corridor” supplying gas to central Europe via Greece.
“Cyprus can play an important role in the project delivering gas to (liquefied natural gas) terminals in Greece and then from there this can bring gas up to Bulgaria, Romania and central Europe,” Vigenin said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.
Vigenin said Bulgaria can’t fully replace Russian gas given its near total reliance on Moscow for the mineral, but the option exists for Cyprus to become a future supplier over the medium term. He said much work remains to make that a reality.
Bulgaria imports around 106 billion cubic feet of gas annually. Cyprus has discovered one field off its southern coast estimated to hold 3.6 trillion to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas that US firm Noble energy and its Israeli partners Delek and Avner are looking to develop.
Cyprus has licensed industry giants Eni of Italy, South Korean Kogas and France’s Total to look for oil and gas off its shores and wants to speed up the search.
Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said last week that Eni has expedited exploration plans by several months.
The east Mediterranean island nation is seeking to build its own land-based facility to process gas for export, but needs additional deposits to make the project viable.