Natural resources and energy
After large gas deposits were discovered off the coast of Cyprus at the end of the 2010s, there are high hopes in the country to build a thriving energy sector. But at the same time, there is a risk that the natural gas resources may deepen the conflict between both parts of the country.
Cyprus has had significant assets of asbestos and copper, but they have been exhausted. The last asbestos mine was closed in 1988 and then copper was also on the pour. Now small quantities of marble, chrome, plaster, salt and zinc are extracted, mainly in the north.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Cyprus with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Investments are made on both solar and wind power, but Cyprus is still completely dependent on imported oil for its energy supply. The oil is purchased from the Middle East.
There is natural gas in the sea off Cyprus and probably also oil. It is hoped to become self-sufficient in energy by extracting these assets. Several foreign companies are active in the pursuit of oil and natural gas off the island. The Greek Cypriots signed an agreement with Egypt and Lebanon in 2006 to drill for oil and gas in the sea south of Cyprus, and in 2007 a similar agreement was signed with Israel. The co-operatives angered both the Turkish Cypriots and their patronage Turkey, which considers the operation illegal without Turkish Cypriot participation.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, CY stands for Cyprus. Visit itypeusa for more information about Cyprus.
In 2011, the test wells showed that there was plenty of natural gas off the south coast. In 2015, this gas field, Aphrodite, was considered commercially profitable and in 2019 Cyprus and Egypt signed an agreement to draw a pipeline at sea to transport gas from the Aphrodite field to Egyptian liquefied natural gas production plants. In the long run, we see further exports to Europe.
In 2012, the state-owned Turkish oil company TPAO began drilling for oil and natural gas in the Turkish Cypriot, northern part of the island. This led to protests from the Greek Cypriot government, which considered the drilling of violations to be contrary to UN resolutions respecting the sovereignty of Cyprus.
At the end of the 2010s, new discoveries of natural gas were made. In 2018, the Calypso field was discovered and a year later, the US energy giant Exxon Mobil, after test drilling, found the promising Glaucus field, the largest find to date in Cyprus’s economic sea zone. The Government of Cyprus is planning to build a port in Vassilikos for the gas and oil industry in Cyprus to be further developed.
In early 2020, Cyprus, Israel and Greece signed an agreement to build a 190-mile gas pipeline, EastMed, to transport natural gas from Israeli and Cypriot gas fields to Europe. The management is supposed to go via the Greek island of Crete and the Greek mainland to Europe. The goal of the European countries is not least to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.
Electricity is produced in Greek Cypriot southern Cyprus. In accordance with a 1974 agreement, Turkish Cypriots in the north receive their deliveries from there without having to pay. The Greek Cypriot part of the capital Nicosia, on the other hand, gets its drinking water via pipelines from the north. In 2016, the electricity grids in southern Cyprus and the north were combined into a single common grid.
At least since the 1970s, both southern and northern Cyprus suffer severe shortage of fresh water. It is said that older Cypriots still remember rivers and lakes on the island that are now dehydrated. Water rationing is sometimes introduced, but interest in water recycling has been weak. Cyprus has been designated as the country in the EU that will first be completely without fresh water. Most reservoirs are almost empty. Rainfall across the island has decreased by 15 percent since the 1970s.
Greek Cypriot governments have, after the turn of the millennium, built large plants to desalinate seawater, and since 2001 they account for half of the water used. But desalination is done with the help of electricity from oil-fired power plants and is seen as too expensive and energy consuming to be used for other than domestic water.
Nor does the north-side import of water into tankers from Turkey benefit agriculture. Already in 1986, a proposal was made to build a water pipeline to northern Cyprus from the Turkish mainland, but only in 2012 was the project reported to have started.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
1 710 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
3621 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
6 062 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
5.3 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
9.9 percent (2015)
Suspected participation in conspiracy
Turkish Cypriots’ new Prime Minister Derviş Eroğlu and former President Rauf Denktaş are identified in a Turkish criminal investigation, suspected of involvement in the so-called Ergenekon affair. Ergenekon is described as an ultra-nationalist right-wing organization that should have planned to overthrow the Turkish Islamic-based government.
UBP whalers in the north
The conservative, nationalist National Unity Party (UBP) wins big in the Turkish Cypriot parliamentary elections. President Talat remains but is weakened by his party CTP’s election loss. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warns the new government to suspend or disrupt the peace talks.