On 29 October 2019 the Conference entitled “From North Sea to Eastern Mediterranean: Collaborating to Maximize the Potential of Hydrocarbon Resources” was held at the Landmark Hotel in Nicosia, Cyprus. The Conference was held under the auspices of the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and organized with the support of the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC), the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) and the Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. The Conference brought together European National Oil & Gas Associations (NOIAs) and industry experts with policymakers and operators in the Eastern Mediterranean, who shared success stories, challenges, and discussed how the right policy framework can help maximize the potential of the region’s oil and gas resources.
The panelists of the Conference also discussed best practices in Safety, Environmental Permitting and Design Notification. Keynote speakers included Georgios Lakkotrypis, Minister for Energy of Cyprus and Kostis Hadzidakis, Minister for the Environment and Energy of Greece. Mr Lakkotrypis stressed that if Cyprus accepts the Turkish version of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) it will remain with only 31% of the current EEZ, and all discoveries to date will belong to other countries. The question as to how this will favour the rights of Turkish-Cypriots remains to be answered by Turkey. Nonetheless, developmentof oil and gas resources in the Cyprus EEZ abides to the UN Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) which Cyprus ratified in 1988.
The first panel addressed “Maximizing Economic Recovery” with introductory remarks by Michael Tholen (Upstream Policy Director, Oil & Gas UK). In addition, this panel consisted of esteemed speakers including Amir Foster (Executive Director, The Association of Oil & Gas Exploration Industries in Israel), Demetris Fessas (Acting General Manager, CHC) and Mr Yaniv Friedman (Deputy CEO, Delek). This panel was brilliantly moderated by François-Régis Mouton (Director EU Affairs, IOGP).
The second panel addressed “Safety, Environment, and Project Design” with introductory remarks by Anastasios Papandreou, DG ENER, European Commission. In addition, this panel consisted of esteemed speakers including Jo Peters (Secretary General, NOGEPA), Erling Kvadsheim (Director International Affairs, Norsk olje & gass), Irene Constantinou (Senior Environment Officer, Cyprus Department of Environment), Vance Greene (Cyprus Country Manager, Noble Energy) and Eni representative. This panel was also impeccably moderated by Irene Eleftheriou (Project Engineer / HSSE Officer, CHC).
The geostrategic location of Cyprus has always played a major part in forming its background and its emergence as a key business hub in the Eastern Mediterranean and an international shipping centre, as a catalyst for access to Europe, Africa and Asia. Important multinational players of the energy industry recently made substantial natural gas discoveries in the EEZ of Cyprus. Cyprus has significant potential to play a key role as an energy hub in the Mediterranean.
Once again Cyprus is at the heart of a region experiencing an exciting growth story for producers of natural gas, following such gas discoveries in its EEZ. New exploration and exploitation in Cyprus as well as the wider region can have tremendous strategic benefits – including for climate, energy security and industrial competitiveness – both in the Eastern Mediterranean and the European Union. Cyprus must therefore sustainably exploit the hydrocarbon reserves to maximise its revenues in the long-term, whilst ensuring adequate environmental protection, in the best interest of its current and future generations.
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