Trump May Back Cyprus Solution, Not Israel-Cyprus-Greece Energy Exports
“With regards to export of hydrocarbons from Israel, Cyprus and Greece I do not see any direct impact, but if prices stay low it will not help,” Cyprus Natural Hydrocarbons Company CEO Charles Ellinas told New Europe on November 10, adding that such exports are still challenged by low oil and gas prices in Europe and globally. “Israel’s plans to export gas to Turkey should not be affected – it is a local deal in which the US will have a role similar to now, i.e. supporting it,” he said.
Asked if a Trump Presidency can it lead to a solution to the Cyprus issue and the Exclusive Economic Zone, Ellinas said Washington’s support for solution of the Cyprus problem would remain. “I do not expect US interest in these issues to be any different than now. Support for solution of the Cyprus problem will remain, but how proactively I cannot say. But US oil companies may benefit from stronger political support. It will be interesting to see what position he takes towards Turkey and Syria/Iraq. A more detached view will have implications for the region, including energy,” he said.
Turning to US-Russia energy relations, Ellinas noted that it is well known that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin admire each other.
“Perhaps as Trump concentrates on domestic issues he may want to limit distractions overseas and pursue better relations with Russia, especially on Ukraine, and ease the current tension. TTIP with Europe may be abandoned – this covers energy – but he will support LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports. EU will need to redefine its own position regarding Russia against this changed US position. But it really is too early to say,” Ellinas said.
Outgoing US President Barack Obama will visit Greece on November 15-16 with the Greek government hoping to discuss debt relief but geopolitical issues are likely to be on the agenda, focusing on the volatile region.
“For all practical purposes, I tell you it’s a very ill-timed visit because basically he’s an outsider looking in. He doesn’t have any power anymore,” Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer in New York, told New Europe by phone on November 9.
“It’s over. Whatever Obama does is completely irrelevant. I bet you anything that the press and the media will be five percent talking about Obama and 95 percent talking about Trump. Because Trump is the future and Obama is the past.”
Gheit said that any discussions that Obama will have with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on geopolitics, including the situation in Syria, Turkey and the whole region “is no longer meaningful” because Trump will pursue a different foreign policy. “It’s like reading yesterday’s newspaper. You’re not telling us anything new,” Gheit said.