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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-18

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, August 18, 2002


  • [01] Fuel prices stable despite market uncertainty
  • [02] Akrounta fire 'was arson'
  • [03] Police seek witnesses to death crash

  • [01] Fuel prices stable despite market uncertainty

    By Soteris Charalambous

    COMMERCE and Industry Minister Nicos Rolandis said yesterday fuel prices would stay unchanged “for the moment” despite the recent rise in the price of crude oil that reached a three-month high this week.

    Oil prices stormed to $29 a barrel amid renewed fears of a US-led attack on Iraq, a major producer of crude. The delaying of a decision on lifting tight supply curbs until October by the OPEC nations undermined an attempt by the cartel's President, Rilwanu Lukman, to take pressure out of the market by announcing that prices would not be allowed to rise above $30 per barrel. A spectacular drop in US oil inventories, which fell by 7.2 million barrels, also contributed to the recent hike in prices.

    “At present there will be no change in fuel prices. (Oil) prices are appraised every 15 days, or monthly, before a decision is made to change them,” Rolandis said. “The price increases (in crude oil) have been offset against the weakness of the US dollar against the Cyprus pound which was trading at $1.50 six months ago and now stands at $1.72.”

    The capacity exists to hold reserves lasting 30 days at the present rate of consumption, but Rolandis ruled out the possibility of buying more crude oil in advance of any further price increases, given the fluctuating nature of the market and the possibility that in the present climate prices were as likely to go down as up.

    But he did admit that the possibility of an attack on Iraq would “most likely” force an increase in fuel prices.

    The minister confirmed that plans were in place, in line with EU accession requirements, to increase capacity on the island to a three-month supply, although these were scheduled for several years ahead.

    “It is not possible to increase capacity at the Larnaca site because of the protests of local residents, and plans are yet to be finalised for the new site,” Rolandis said. “In the meantime, we can use storage facilities in another European country.”

    He confirmed that proposals to liberalise the fuel market, which forms part of the list of reforms required before EU accession, would be put before the Council of Ministers this year, and will take place over three stages, resulting in “private companies setting fuel prices before accession takes place”.

    After liberalisation of the fuel market the minister predicts that consumers will see an overall decrease in the cost of petrol, while diesel is likely to go up. “Other oil-based products such as asphalt are also likely to increase after accession,” he added.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Akrounta fire 'was arson'

    A FIRE which broke out at around noon yesterday near the village of Akrounta in the Limassol District is thought to have been started deliberately, police said.

    An eyewitness told the Fire Service he had seen a man in the area just before the fire broke out.

    “I saw him leave the point where the fire started,” he said.

    “I chased after him. He was hiding in the olive trees and when I called out to him he said he raised his hands and said he had nothing to do with it.”

    It took eight fire engines, two helicopters and several men from the Forestry Department to put out the blaze, which burned one square kilometre of dry shrub, olive and carob trees.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Police seek witnesses to death crash

    POLICE have appealed for information about a road accident on Friday afternoon that claimed the life of a 21-year-old Limassol man.

    Nikolas Karaolis lost control of his car while driving towards Limassol on the motorway from Nicosia. The vehicle overturned repeatedly before coming to a halt in the middle of the road, blocking both lanes near the Governor's beach slip road.

    A passenger in the car, 35-year-old Athena Kyprianou, also from Limassol, was injured.

    The pair were rushed to the Limassol hospital, were Karaolis was pronounced dead on arrival. Kyprianou was given first aid treatment and later released.

    The police say preliminary investigations revealed that Karaolis was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.

    They are urging anyone who might have witnessed the accident to contact their nearest police station.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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