Cyprus LNG Terminal Project Faces Further Delays

In a recent development concerning the Vasiliko liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou has stated that the Cypriot government does not have an alternative strategy if the current plans with the Chinese-led consortium fall through. The project, which has experienced significant delays, is currently in arbitration between the Republic of Cyprus and the consortium responsible for constructing the LNG plant.

During a private session of the House Audit Committee, Papanastasiou expressed regret over the selection of the contractor, admitting that he would not choose the same consortium today. However, he emphasized that completing the project with the existing contractor remains the quickest path to operational status. The government insists on adherence to the revised deadline of July 2024, following two previous extensions from the initial September 2022 date.

The minister highlighted the economic benefits of the LNG terminal, suggesting that its existence could lower electricity costs to around 20 cents per kilowatt hour. Papanastasiou remains hopeful about the project’s completion, contingent on the contractor’s cooperation.

Discussions with Chinese Ambassador Liu Yantao have been described as “very constructive,” with further talks scheduled to address any outstanding issues. The minister’s comments suggest that the project is nearing completion, provided the contractor fulfills its obligations.

Amidst these developments, there is a growing call for accountability. The absence of former Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis and former head of the Natural Gas Public Company (Defa) Symeon Kassianides from the committee meeting raised concerns. Some members of parliament, including Akel MP Irene Charalambidou, are pushing for an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Authority into potential misconduct and financial losses associated with the project.

The parliamentary committee expects China to honor its commitments, emphasizing Cyprus’s friendly relations with China and its status as an EU member state. The committee chairman, Diko MP Zacharias Koulias, expressed confidence in a positive outcome for the project.

As Cyprus Mail continues to monitor this story, stakeholders and Cypriot citizens alike await further developments on this critical energy infrastructure project.

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