On Tuesday, lawmakers sounded the alarm over continued delays in relocating petroleum tanks and related infrastructure from the Larnaca seafront to Vasilikos, in Limassol, primarily over a dispute between fuel companies and the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA).
The town of Larnaca is anxious to be rid of the tanks dotting the coastline, paving the way for the commercial development and the building of a mooted marina.
Speaking to reporters after a session of the House commerce and energy committee Disy MP for Larnaca Annita Demetriou said they were particularly concerned over a disagreement between the CPA and the companies, which are not seeing eye to eye on the precise location of where ships will supply the relocated tanks in Vasilikos.
Demetriou said further extensions to the planned relocation were unacceptable. She urged the energy ministry to step in and address all pending matters.
On Monday, the ministry will host a meeting of all stakeholders.
In June 2018, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis submitted a signed memorandum of understanding to the cabinet between the government and six private companies for the removal from Larnaca of the fuel storage facilities.
According to the minister, a timetable had been fixed with a deadline of December 31, 2019, for moving the liquid fuels and for the creation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facilities by December 31, 2020.
That deadline now looks increasingly unlikely.
The fundamental problem lies in a dispute between the CPA and the fuel companies; the latter want their tanks in Vasilikos to be supplied at the existing harbor there.
By contrast, and going with a study compiled by foreign consultants, the CPA says the relocated fuel depots should be serviced by ships at a different location nearby, which would be constructed specially for that purpose.
The joint venture of Vlpg Plant Ltd – comprising Petrolina, Intergaz, and Synergies – have asked the ministry that they are allowed to receive LPG shipments inside the port of Vasilikos.
Their primary argument is that building a new anchorage point elsewhere in Limassol would drive up costs.
Neither the fuel companies nor the CPA is willing to budge.
Meantime another issue has cropped up: the state power company (EAC) has intimated it wants to temporarily use the depots in Larnaca to store fuel it recently purchased on forward contracts, taking advantage of meager oil prices.
In late May, the EAC said it had purchased some 90,000 metric tonnes of heavy fuel oil on the forward contract.
At the time, Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras rejected the EAC’s request.