Natural gas extraction to start within a year
The extraction of natural gas from one of the blocks in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by the US Noble Energy company could begin in late 2011 or early 2012, according to a statement made by Commerce, Industry & Tourism Minister Antonis Paschalides. Noble's vice president for international operations, Terry Gerhart, said that "we are very excited about the prospects and very excited about working in Cyprus". Asked about the size of the gas reserves, he replied that "we currently do not have an exact estimate" but he noted that Nobel had had success in the adjoining Israeli EEZ and that the seismic findings indicated a sizeable gas-bearing structure.
Lidl opens stores in Cyprus
The German supermarket chain Lidl has opened its first stores in Cyprus. In total the company will operate ten stores nationwide, hoping to become one of the main players in the island’s retail trade.
Cyprus-Qatar joint investment
The signing of an agreement between President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Caliph Al-Thani last April, has opened up new economic horizons for Cyprus. The Cyprus-Qatar consortium will build a large, luxurious five-star hotel opposite the Nicosia Hilton. The project includes also a shopping centre, offices and apartments. The total value of the investment is estimated at £100 million.
International joint venture to construct a fuel terminal
A major state-of-the-art oil import and distribution terminal will be constructed in the industrial area of Vassiliko which is expected to be completed in 2012. The project will cost €100 million, will have 20 tanks with a total capacity of 347,000 cubic metres in phase I for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil, and will include four to six jetties. The terminal is a joint venture between the Dutch Vitol Group and the Malaysian based international shipping company MISC.
Cyprus to host Indian aluminium plant
A large Indian aluminium producer is in talks with the government about the possibility of setting up a plant in Cyprus. The company plans to invest a total of £700 million, which would likely involve the creation of 600 jobs. If the investment goes ahead, the new plant would require a power supply of the order of 500MW, which is currently the total amount of electricity consumed by the whole of the island outside of periods of peak demand. To supply something in the region of 500MW there would be a need to invest £350 million in new facilities.
Plans to invigorate tourism investment
Invitations will be issued for investment in the tourism sector following the launch of a package of incentives with €13 million. The €13 million will be distributed in two parts. Over €5 million is being offered to hoteliers to upgrade, and the remainder to local or foreign investors for projects that will enhance Cyprus tourism. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation estimates that if the offers are taken up, it could stimulate a total investment in the tourism sector of €55 million.
Smooth start for new Paphos airport
The new Paphos international airport opened its doors to the first passengers. A barrage of stringent tests has been carried out at the airport to ensure everything would run smoothly from the first day of operation. These included using rehearsal passengers, who helped test all the facilities of the airport and filled in questionnaires to provide feedback for the operator, Hermes airports. The first flight out of the new airport, which will be able to cater for 2.7 million passengers a year, was a Cyprus Airways flight bound for London Heathrow.
Βowls the new tourism puller in Paphos
Bowls could actually be bringing in more tourists to Cyprus than golf and without the environmental baggage of water hungry golf courses. Flat green bowling is the way forward in attracting visitors to Cyprus. There are four well-known UK based travel companies who are already prompting holidays aimed at bowlers in the winter months. These people usually have to play indoors during the winter in the UK, but instead they could go to Cyprus and play outside in the sunshine. Bowlers in the UK are used to playing on a special indoor carpet during bad weather. In the last European championships, Cyprus came in 9th place, out of a total of 15 countries. The team representing Cyprus was made up of two ladies and two men, of whom all were British. One of them was Paphos-based Linda Ryan, who recently represented Cyprus in the World Bowls Singles Champion of Champions competition in Aberdeen.
Company registration in three days
Presenting the results of efforts to speed up procedures for company registration, the Minister of Commerce, Industry & Tourism Andonis Paschalides said that in the past few years, there has been a big increase in company registrations. According to the Minister, 9,080 new companies were registered in 2003, which rose to 24,187 in 2008 – a 166% increase. With intensive efforts, the time needed to register a new company, approve a company’s name and seek registered documents has been significantly reduced. In March 2008, it took between 20 and 25 working days to register a company. Now it takes between two and three days only.