LONDON: Discovery of natural gas off the Cypriot coast will enable this island to play a key role in supplying Europe with energy in the future, a Qatar-based expert told an industry conference Monday.
“Cyprus’ advantageous geographic location at the crossroads of major international energy routes makes it a natural energy hub,” Roudi Baroudi, an energy and environment analyst, said at Eastern Mediterranean New Frontiers, a high-profile event at London’s The Grosvenor Hotel.
Stressing that Europe’s energy requirements were becoming an increasingly political issue and that current dependence on Russian gas would only grow in the coming years, Baroudi said the Eastern Mediterranean offered a badly needed alternative source of supply that would be a fruitful investment for the World Bank and/or the International Monetary Fund.
This proposal would see Cyprus serve as a reliable partner in Europe’s energy mix, he said, and the starting point for a new undersea pipeline carrying gas to Greece, Italy and other markets in Western Europe from Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and Palestine.
“Europe would get much of what it’s been looking for,” he explained on the sidelines of the conference. “A more level playing field in the gas supply market, enhanced security and diversity of supply, prosperity and economic boosts for all of the producer countries – that can only lend greater stability to a region that sorely needs it, a key goal of the whole Euro-Med initiative.”
For these reasons and others, Baroudi said the European Investment Bank, World Bank and the IMF should consider investing in Cyprus’ strategic energy sector, particularly the liquefied natural gas development scheme.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 24, 2013, on page 5.