Academics from Egypt, Greece and Cyprus promoted a roundtable in Cairo on September 25th to discuss ways of enhancing the countries’ cooperation in the natural gas market. The discussion, which tackled innovative ideas to translate the tripartite partnership into synergies and common projects, counted with the special participation of the presidential candidate and president of the Democratic Party of Cyprus, Nicholas Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos sees great potential in a partnership between Cyprus and Egypt to build a pipeline that would allow the Mediterranean island to export natural gas from its Aphrodite field through Egypt’s Damietta, as he exclusively disclosed to Egypt Oil & Gas.
“The Aphrodite field could be used to cover our internal demands at Cyprus, and most of it could be exported using Damietta, which is a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant now being underused in Egypt. We could build a pipeline from Aphrodite to Damietta and very quickly export a significant percentage of this field, which is to the benefit of both Cyprus and Egypt,” he said.
Papadopoulos also highlighted the importance of keeping all the partnership options open to boost the production and the exports of natural gas in the region. The usage of Egypt’s existing infrastructure to promote exports was noted by the candidate as one of the measures to be considered to enable Egypt, Greece and Cyprus to expand their market shares in the natural gas sector.
“The option to cooperate with Egypt to export gas through their facilities that were already built and are currently being underused is the option that gives us more choices. It is something that we can use now. We would not have to wait,” he added.
During the roundtable, Egypt was mentioned as a key player in the tripartite cooperation due to its rich gas reserves and recent massive discoveries. The Egyptian Zohr natural gas field, considered the largest natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea, was pointed out as an asset for the development of future joint projects.
“After Zohr, we have bigger expectations about the potential of the region,” Theodoros Tsakiris, Assistant Professor, Energy Policy & Geopolitics at the University of Nicosia (UNIC), stated.
Participants in the roundtable also stressed the strategic importance of the three Eastern Mediterranean countries from a security perspective, as Egypt, Greece and Cyprus are pillars of stability amidst the political turmoil in the region, and represent a reliable market to the natural gas industry.
“Eastern Mediterranean producers should seek cooperation and synergies from the beginning; thus, they will become more competitive in the global market,” Constantinos Fillis, Director of Research at the Institute for International Relations (IIR), Panteion University, explained.
The event was jointly organized by CASAR, the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy of the American University in Cairo (AUC), the Institute for International Relations (IIR) of the Panteion University, and the Center for Energy Policy of the University of Nicosia (UNIC).
By Mariana Somensi