articles | 23 March 2018

Energy Minister confident of oil and gas firms' relocation

Oil and gas companies are not discussing if but when they will be moving their facilities from Larnaca, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said after meetings between companies and the municipality that wants them out of the city.

Speaking to reporters after the first round of meetings with representatives from oil and gas firms Synergas, Intergas and Petrolina, Lakkotrypis said joint efforts between the government and the municipality ‘would reap results’.

A second meeting between ExonMobil, BP and Eko representatives with the minister and municipality followed.

According to Lakkotrypis, cabinet has agreed on the creation of an interministerial committee, as the relocation involves a lot of government services.

It is expected to convene on Wednesday to establish a timeframe for when the companies will leave.

President Nicos Anastasiades is also expected to meet with Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras next week.

“The joint effort being undertaken between the government and Larnaca municipality will reap results. Companies are no longer discussing if they will leave Larnaca but when,” Lakkotrypis said.

A coordinating committee will also be set up, comprised of technocrats who will have to implement decisions taken on a political level.

“We are determined to proceed and have split the procedure into three parts,” he added.

These are the transitional arrangements whereby all liquid fuels can be transferred to Vassilikos, the permanent arrangement for the firms which seek to invest in Vassilikos for liquid fuel and the permanent regulations for liquified petroleum gas.

Asked whether the government could convince the companies to accept the temporary solution, Lakkotrypis said this was what was being discussed. The measures either the state or municipality will take will depend on how the companies react.

Vyras said binding timeframes and penalties for non-compliance should be implemented and stressed that companies have understood ‘the seriousness of the matter’ – meaning that they are not wanted.

The municipality wanted the companies out due to fears the port would be turned into an industrial hub with all the attendant health and environmental risks.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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