Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus George Papanastasiou stressed the importance of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's visit, considering it an essential factor for further enhancement of bilateral relations between Cyprus and Qatar, building upon the excellent results of Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides' visit to Doha in November, 2023.

In his remarks to News Agency (QNA), Cyprus' Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry said, "Cypriot authorities are planning to present to our Qatari guests investment prospects in various sectors of our economy, such as energy, technology, and tourism."

The Cypriot Minister highlighted the multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, involving the hydrocarbons' exploration activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus. QatarEnergy has a 40 percent share in Blocks 5 and 10 of the EEZ and together, with their partners ExxonMobil have already been very successful in Block 10, making in 2019 the "Glaucus" natural gas discovery, His Excellency noted.

"In the hydrocarbons' sector, Cyprus is working closely with the ExxonMobil and QatarEnergy consortium, which is planning to proceed with new exploration activities in Blocks 5 and 10 in the near future, whilst also working on the development of the "Glaucus" discovery," he said, adding that "the high quality of the discovery has also been confirmed by an appraisal well in 2022. Hopefully, the consortium will enjoy similar success in their upcoming exploration activities in Block 5."

His Excellency noted that Cyprus has significant potential for further cooperation in renewable, noting its energy green energy export potential, adding that the country invests heavily in clean energy between neighboring countries and regions and has some of the highest potentials for renewable energy in Europe for solar generation.

"Further cooperation could be explored for the Great Sea Interconnection project. This is a project that is expected to terminate Cyprus' energy isolation, increase energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean, and encourage the development and export of clean energy to both Cyprus, Greece, and the rest of the European Union (EU)," Cypriot Minister said.

Commenting on trade volumes, the total trade in goods between Cyprus and Qatar has recorded an impressive increase of 504 percent between 2023 and 2022, jumping from 8.2 million euros to 49.2 million euros. This is due to the increase in total imports of goods from Qatar to Cyprus, which rose from 0.8 million euros in 2022 to 41.8 million euros in 2023. The main products imported from Qatar in 2023 were petroleum oils, 35 million euros (83 percent of the total), and acyclic ethers, 6 million euros (14 percent of the total).
Regarding domestic exports of goods from Cyprus to Qatar, these have decreased slightly, from 4.4 million euros in 2022 to 4.1 million euros in 2023. The main products exported from Cyprus to Qatar in 2023 were pharmaceuticals, 2 million euros (48 percent of the total), dairy machinery, 0.8 million euros (21 percent of the total), and fire extinguishers, 0.4 million euros (10 percent of the total).

In addition to the above, the trade of services between Cyprus and Qatar has also increased for the period 2021 to 2022 (based on Eurostat figures). Specifically, total exports of services from Cyprus to Qatar have increased from 3.4 million euros in 2021 to 6.4 million euros in 2022, an 88.2 percent increase. Total imports of services from Qatar to Cyprus have also increased from 1.2 million euros in 2021 to 3.8 million euros in 2022, a 216.7 percent increase, His Excellency said.
Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus George Papanastasiou explained to QNA that there is room for strengthening business cooperation and promoting trade in services and goods between our two countries. To achieve this goal, business delegations and forums can bring together the vibrant business communities of Cyprus and Qatar, greatly facilitating B2B partnerships.

Cyprus envisions a robust future for the bilateral cooperation between it and Qatar, working hard to ensure that it is realized, in part through the exchange of good practices and the transfer of knowledge and expertise. Cyprus, for example, has good experience in distributed electricity generation from small photovoltaic systems for net-metering, net-billing, and self-consumption, as well as in the field of energy performance of buildings, Cypriot Minister said.

Cyprus is also among the world's top countries, per capita, in the utilization of Solar Water Heaters, which are used by more than 90 percent of households and 55 percent of buildings for their hot water needs, as well as for space heating, he pointed out.

In this regard, His Excellency added, "we can collaborate with the competent authorities of Qatar on (a) energy efficiency and the promotion of the use of renewable energy sources, especially solar energy like photovoltaic systems and solar thermal systems, wind power, energy storage, heat pumps, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, etc., and (b) use of biofuels in transport."

Moreover, he pointed out the possibility of Qatar and Cyprus developing partnerships in areas such as smart manufacturing, "whereby by leveraging high-tech systems and collaborating with the Qatar National Research Fund, we can enhance our research and innovation ecosystem."

At the end of his remarks, Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry recalled the 2008 Bilateral Agreement for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments signed between Cyprus and Qatar, which came into force on Nov. 6, 2009.

Moreover, in 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus and the Ministry of Energy and Industry of the State of Qatar, on cooperation in the energy sector.

The memorandum stipulates cooperation in the field of energy Infrastructures and networks, monetization technologies and facilities in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, and safety and environmental protection in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons.