Larnaca Mayor Andreas Louroutziatis has put his name on the line trying to keep his port open for business, but an unfriendly municipal council wants oil companies to clear out and it may be too late to change that.
Larnaca is facing the possibility of dropping off the energy map following a vote last month where the municipal council narrowly voted to block energy companies from extending their contracts at Larnaca port. But Louroutziatis believes mixed reactions following the vote, in addition to important recent developments, at least warrant a new meeting and round of discussion, but this is easier said than done.
The initial vote basically closed the door to French Total and Italian ENI who were requesting extensions on the use of support services provided by MEDSERV for their offshore exploration activities.
Developments and reactions
Following the vote, Limassol mayor Andreas Christou had expressed interest in hosting the companies, as long as they could meet certain conditions. Limassol port is not currently operating at full capacity and companies could easily set up shop on a temporary basis without difficulty.
This prompted Larnaca port workers to weigh in and protest the possibility of losing their jobs, something which had not registered with local activists prior to the vote. Transport Minister Marios Demetriades echoed that development, pointing to Limassol as an alternative for energy companies who are searching for a place to set up camp.
The University of Cyprus also threw its hat in the ring, expressing interest in opening a satellite programme in the town where energy companies could congregate and the broader industry would actually create opportunities for education and training, perhaps even jobs for graduates.
Louroutziatis also argued that the government is pushing for new strategic plans on energy and tourism, arguing that making huge energy decisions ought to be...