Cypriot state-run natural gas firm Defa has extended the deadline for a tender to import gas to the island for the ninth time, pushing it further back from 18 December, after it had expired, to 12 February. Defa has been unable to come to an agreement with any of the three bidders: Israeli firm Delek, a Greek consortium headed by local businessmen and trading giant Vitol. Vitol would appear to be in pole position given that it last year opened a major oil products storage terminal at Vasilikos on the island’s southern coast – also the proposed location for any gas imports, whether in the form of LNG or a pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite or Israel’s Leviathan or Tamar fields. Delek and US partner Noble have stakes in each of these.

Cyprus currently has no gas grid or facilities to import gas. The tender seeks gas volumes rising from 19.5-30.4 trillion BTU in the first year to 25-43 trillion BTU by 2025. According to the terms of the tender, first gas is to be delivered between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2017, but that is looking increasingly unlikely and will most likely be revised if an agreement is reached with any of the bidders (MEES, 18 April 2014). (CONTINUED - 201 WORDS)