Nicosia said yesterday that it was on track for exploiting its natural resources and building an LNG plant following reports Israel is getting cold feet.
“We are within the timetables that we have set with regard to our plans for the exploitation of the hydrocarbon reserves,” said Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis in Abu Dhabi.
Reuters reported that Israel may be looking to Egypt and Turkey and could ditch previous plans to pump its gas reserves into a future export plant in Cyprus, dealing a major blow to the island's ambitions to become a global player.
In response Lakkotrypis said: “To begin with, the choices of the partnership that is operating in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone have always been known.”
He said Cyprus was within the “timetables that we have set” and is close to agreeing a project for an LNG plant and the launch of exploratory drillings which will last 12 to 18 months.
An LNG export plant was due to deliver at least 5 million tonnes a year to Europe and Asia, allowing Europe to reduce its growing dependency on Russia.
Israel's new plans throw Cypriot developments into doubt as investors would require more gas than Cyprus has on offer to make returns on multibillion-dollar investments, Reuters said.