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26 May, 2024
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Cyprus converts ship to boost natural gas integration

Cyprus adopts LNG terminal, shaping greener energy landscape

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

Good news has emerged regarding the development of the LNG Terminal in Cyprus and the introduction of Natural Gas to the region. The conversion of the ETYFA ship Prometheus into a floating LNG regasification and storage unit (FSRU) is now finished. The consortium responsible for the project announced that the final tests for the ship will occur between August 24 and August 31. Following these tests, the ship is scheduled to leave the Shanghai shipyard around mid-September, with an anticipated delivery to Cyprus in mid-October 2023. Once the gas trials are completed, there will be an official renaming ceremony attended by George Papanastasiou, the Minister of Energy, Trade, and Industry.

DEFPA/ETYFA and the Ministry of Energy are concerned about the ship's potential early delivery.

However, "K" has revealed that significant issues arose during the initial sea trials, specifically related to vital navigation and safety systems. The contractor, COSCO, which handled the ship's conversion, is working diligently to address these problems. Despite concerns raised by ETIFA about these problems, it's important to note that the issuance of fitness and safety certificates by Lloyds Register, the classification society, is mandatory before the ship's delivery.

Simultaneously, although there has been a considerable delay in the Vasilikos land and sea works, which extended beyond two years, positive developments are now visible. The contractor initiated the first construction efforts in June 2023.

Moving on to the completion of the LNG Terminal project, reports indicate that the contractor has submitted a new delivery timeline of July 23, 2024. While this marks the fourth consecutive schedule adjustment and the third revised schedule submitted, experts at ETYFA believe that this might be the first realistic timeline, potentially with a minor delay of two to three months.

Both DEFPA/ETYFA and the Ministry of Energy are concerned about the ship's potential early delivery, especially considering the ongoing delay in Vasilikos infrastructure construction.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy is contemplating the temporary leasing of the ship to another European nation for about a year. This idea has merit since the ship could achieve full operational readiness before reaching Cyprus. This arrangement could generate substantial revenue, offsetting emissions-related costs and project expenses, eventually covered through tariffs from Cypriot citizens.

Shifting attention to new challenges, the Tender Review Authority's actions have led to further delays in the critical construction works for the LNG Terminal connection network and licensed power generators' facilities. The Authority dismissed DEFA's plea for "Public Interest" considerations and the potential loss of €10 million in European funding due to ongoing delays. Additionally, they disregarded the Republic of Cyprus's losses of around EUR 7 million each month due to delays, attributed to a mistake made by the sole bidder regarding their submitted guarantee.

Despite the current positivity surrounding Natural Gas projects, concerns persist about decisions that ought to prioritize public interest, as they could potentially cause more harm than good.

Finally, as per the same report, the Minister of Energy's support for DEFA/ETIFA projects and the Board's dedication to the process are encouraging signs that the longstanding internal issues plaguing DEFA are being addressed, which has contributed to recent progress.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  gas  |  energy  |  LNG  |  ministry

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