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20 June, 2024
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Cyprus secures 25% stake in epic electric cable project

Great Sea Interconnector: Cyprus' critical role in €1.9B energy revolution

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

In the midst of a countdown, the government finds itself deeply engaged in one of the Eastern Mediterranean's most monumental energy endeavors.

This groundbreaking project involves an electric cable stretching from Israel to Crete via Cyprus, aptly named the Great Sea Interconnector. Sources within the know suggest that a definitive response regarding Cyprus's participation in the cable's shareholding structure will emerge within the week.

Fresh insights, unveiled last week at the Presidential Palace through a comprehensive study by the esteemed international firm DNV (Det Norske Veritas), seem to have swiftly quelled longstanding doubts surrounding the project. Such clarity, attained well before the project falls under the ERA's purview, injects a palpable sense of momentum, poised to propel the entire venture forward.

Anticipated to secure nearly 25% of the venture, Cyprus's involvement aligns seamlessly with Nicosia's strategic ambitions. Coupled with ERA's stake, this partnership promises to wield substantial influence over the electric cable's fate.

While precise figures regarding the share purchase remain elusive, speculations hint at figures possibly falling below €50 million. The prevailing notion suggests that acquisition capital sourced from the €100 million Recovery and Resilience Fund would skirt the confines of state aid regulations, enabling Cyprus to procure shares under Market Conditions.

This impending development heralds the realization of long-held aspirations, tracing back to the EuroAsia Interconnector era. Initial fervor surrounding participation waned in the wake of subsequent delays and Greece's pivot away from the project's third phase. However, a resurgence of interest ignited following the changing of the guard in the project's Implementing Authority.

Once participation in the share structure is finalized, the Ministry of Energy will swiftly apprise ERA, paving the way for the meticulous financial orchestration necessary for project fruition.

Against the backdrop of the project's staggering €1.9 billion price tag, developments surrounding the Project Implementing Authority have been markedly influenced by the European Investment Bank's initial reluctance. ERA's assumption of project implementation reins has indisputably altered the landscape.

Already, conversations between ERA's leadership and key figures within the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy in Athens signal promising prospects. The uptick in pre-financing by CINEA underscores burgeoning confidence, accentuating the project's viability and underscoring its pivotal role in the region's energy landscape.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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