Cyprus hopes to begin importing liquefied natural gas from Israel by early 2015, Cypriot Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis was quoted as saying by Famagusta Gazette Online Tuesday.

Israel is in favor of supplying Cyprus with between 0.5 and 0.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas for electricity production, Sylikiotis reportedly said. The island country is planning to import natural gas in the short term, before exploiting its own offshore reserves around 2018.

Sylikiotis spoke to journalists following the visit to Israel of a high-level Cypriot delegation, including officials from the Cyprus Electric Authority, Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority, Natural Gas Public Company and the Commerce Ministry’s Energy Service.

“If all these discussions are completed by the end of the year, then we can have natural gas in early 2015 at lower prices for three to five years,” the Gazette quoted Sylikiotis as saying. He said the gas would be bought through the Cyprus Electric Authority, following a state-to-state agreement or a deal with the Israel Electric Company.

The comments were made less than one week after the Tzemach Report recommended that Israel cap exportation of natural-gas reserves to 500 b.cu.m., while saving at least 450 b.cu.m. for domestic needs.

Israel has about 800 b.cu.m. in confirmed natural-gas resources, according to the report, which still requires cabinet and Knesset approval. In addition, there are 680 b.cu.m. in known prospective resources, of which some 150 b.cu.m. are said to have at least a 90 percent probability of success.

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