Despite Egypt’s recent announcement of an enormous natural gas find in Egypt’s Zohr off shore zone, the deal to import natural gas from the Cyprus Aphrodite plot and to perform the liquefaction process in Egypt prior to its export to Europe still holds, said the new Egyptian ambassador to Cyprus Mr. H. Mubarak. Egypt already has the spare capacity at an existing plant and for Cyprus to build its own facilities would be both costly and time consuming the ambassador pointed out. The Egyptian proposal first received in August of this year and which is currently being studied by the Cyprus government and gas companies involved, includes plans for a pipeline to Port Said. Mr. Mubarak said that he expected the decision on their proposal to be imminent.
Mr. Mubarak expressed the opinion that further natural gas discoveries in the Egyptian off shore areas will very likely lead to Cyprus making similar further discoveries because of its geographic proximity. It is a matter of increasing drilling activity. On the subject of The Cyprus Problem ambassador Mubarak did not consider this to be an obstacle to progress and noted that relationships between the two sides and with his country are better than they have been for years.
Some of the areas explored by ENI and Total have not proved productive so far despite the hype that went on at the time, so until explorations are resumed in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z.) no further progress can be expected. However, with less than 50% of the blocks having been leased to companies for exploration the possibility of doing so still exists. This may necessitate a further round of licenses being granted.
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