He pointed out that Cyprus’ Government tries to provide the energy companies TOTAL and ENI with the appropriate facilities to operate in the country.
He also highlighted the cost for Cyprus economy, in case the companies choose to operate in the port of another country.
Demetriades was speaking to the press after a meeting with representatives of French Total, after the Municipal Council of Larnaca rejected Monday a requests by the company and Italian ENI to make use of the city’s port facilities for future exploratory drills.
Total had asked to use the facilities for six months and ENI for one more year, with an extension clause for six more months.
Various organised local and environmental groups have voiced their strong opposition, citing risks to public health and the town`s tourism aspirations.
But the Minister said that the Government wants the companies to use the facilities of Cyprus` ports, noting that after Wednesday’s meeting with Total, he will have meetings with ENI next Monday to discuss the options they have.
Commenting on Larnaca`s Minicipal Council`s decision, the Minister said the extension Total had asked for another six months would not affect in any way the planning for the port of Larnaca.
Saying that regarding the port issue the Ministry always takes into account the views of the local community, he noted however that the Ministry will make sure to grant the companies the suitable premises to do their work.
"Besides, we all agree that the energy sector is a sector of priority for the country," he said, pointing out that he is in constant consultation with the Minister of Energy, to take the appropriate decisions. The government, according to the Minister, suggests companies to use Limassol port, however the question is whether the infrastructure would be ready at the appropriate time.
Invited to comment on press reports that companies are considering using the Port of Haifa as their base for Cyprus` EEZ explorations, the Minister said that this would mean losses, fewer jobs and less money for an economy that needs it.
He also said that the final decision for the management of port facilities rests with the government that has the responsibility for managing port facilities, taking also into account, to some extent, the local community decisions.
Source: Famagusta Gazette