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Cyprus minister eyes closer cooperation with China after discovery of large natural gas reserves

Christian Fernsby |
Recent discovery of natural gas in Cyprus paved the way for its further cooperation with China, a Cypriot official said Monday.

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Resource discoveries brought opportunities for international cooperation, including infrastructure constructions for gas exploration and exports of oil and gas, as well as the country's major shipping business, Cyprus's Deputy Minister of Shipping Natasa Pilides told Xinhua.

Cyprus announced in March that a natural gas field containing 5-8 trillion cubic feet of the resource are found in its exclusive economic zone.

With discovery of natural gas in Cyprus and nearby regions, energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean is positively influencing the shipping industry, Pilides said, adding that the region may become a large energy base given the prospects of further discovery in Greece and Lebanon.

As an industrial report released last month by the Shanghai Urban and Rural Construction and Transportation Development Research Institute suggested China's Shanghai has overtaken Germany's Hamburg in 2018 as an international shipping center ranking fourth globally, the deputy minister said that "Cyprus does wish to collaborate (with China) more closely in the coming years ... and promote the already strong relations between the two countries," she added.

"We already have a great relationship with Chinese companies, including leasing companies, finance companies, whereas our own companies are collaborating with them and are actively taking part in trading operations," she said.

Pilides said that she will attend a shipping meeting in China later this month, regarding the event as an opportunity to build relationship with potential partners.

"I believe it is important for the government to express the willingness to expand our cooperation ... and I hope we'll find a lot of common grounds and develop the existing relationship even further," she said.

Relations between China and Cyprus have been expanding rapidly over the last decade.

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