Anastasiades urges Israel to export gas from Cyprus

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has invited Israel to export Israeli gas from the island’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

Speaking Wednesday during the inauguration of a desalination plant in Limassol, an event attended by Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom, Anastasiades said the completion of the project aims to establish Cyprus as a regional energy hub.

The Cypriot president urged Tel Aviv to export Israeli gas from the LNG facility, emphasizing that “Cyprus is perhaps Israel’s most stable partner in the region.”

The terminal, built at an estimated cost of $6 billion, is designed to process the vast natural gas reserves off the Mediterranean island. Based on its current timeframe, Nicosia hopes to begin exports by 2020.

Cyprus discovered an average 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in December 2011 in one field offshore, close to where Israel reported major finds within its own maritime boundaries.

In controversial comments made Wednesday, former Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat did not rule out the prospect of a new Turkish military invasion of Cyprus triggered by the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves within the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The were no reports of an official response from Nicosia or Athens. [Combined reports]