8 December 2015, Tuesday
Egypt - Israel gas spat does not affect Cyprus, says Lakkotrypis
Egypt has told Cyprus that its decision to freeze negotiations with Israel to purchase natural gas does not affect its intention to buy Cypriot gas, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Monday.

The Egyptian government ordered a freeze on imports of Israeli natural gas after the International Chamber of Commerce ruled that Egypt was liable to pay 1.76 billion U.S. dollars in compensation to Israel's Electric Corporation after it canceled their bilateral gas deal in 2012.

Egypt said the freeze would last until at least after an appeal against the ruling.

Lakkotrypis said the Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab called him on Sunday to tell him that Egypt's interest in buying Cypriot gas was unaffected by its row with Israel.

"Negotiations on the gas purchase are continuing on a commercial level," Lakkotrypis added.

Meanwhile, the British Gas (BG) Group, which owns a liquefaction plant at Idku, is negotiating with U.S.-based Noble Energy to buy gas from a field it discovered in Cyprus' offshore economic zone.

BG Group has also made an offer to buy a 35-percent share in the field for 186 million dollars, which Noble Energy said contains at least 127 billion cubic meters of gas.

Lakkotrypis said BG's request was currently being processed following its approval by the Cypriot government.

He also said that a planned three-party summit between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece on Dec. 9 in Athens would go ahead as planned.

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