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20 May, 2024
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Vasilikos: Fragile peace amidst delays and disputes

Efforts to resume work encounter tensions with Chinese consortium


According to a report by Kathimerini's Apostolos Tomaras, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou's recent meeting with a top executive of China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd., the parent company overseeing the Vasilikos energy projects, has thawed a two-month standoff but left tensions simmering. The meeting, while preventing an immediate clash, merely patched over deep-seated issues dividing the two parties, with the "peace" described as fragile.

The temporary truce comes after a prolonged suspension of work at the Vasilikos project, raising concerns about significant bottlenecks and delays affecting the project's completion timeline. Originally slated for delivery by the second half of 2022, the delay could jeopardize Cyprus' agreement with the European Commission, which has provided €101 million in support.

A key point of contention revolves around the pier at Vasilikos, with the consortium contesting the project owner's request to repurpose it for dual-use, supporting both the import of F.A. and future export of liquefied petroleum gas (LNG). The dispute is set to be resolved by an expert summoned to Nicosia.

Furthermore, issues with the floating unit (FSRU) being constructed in Singapore have also surfaced. While the vessel is nearing completion, concerns remain about its certification process. Papanastasiou has proposed a trilateral teleconference to provide updates on the FSRU's progress.

Behind the scenes, deficiencies within the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (ETYFA) have come to light, highlighting the need for bolstered expertise and manpower. Brussels, which is closely monitoring the project due to its financial backing, may exert pressure if the project is not completed by the end of 2024.

To mitigate further delays, the energy ministry plans to establish a monitoring mechanism, deploying engineers to oversee the project's progress. However, doubts persist about the project's timely completion, with efforts underway to secure a short extension from the EU.


[This article is a translated summary of the original Greek article published in this Sunday's Kathimerini printed edition]

Cyprus  |  scandal  |  Vasiliko  |  energy  |  LNG

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