Total plans to drill its initial well offshore Cyprus by April. But, with this now only five months away it has still not been able to secure the use of a port as a logistics base. Previous drilling offshore Cyprus, by US firm Noble with its 2011 Aphrodite discovery, and by Eni on Block 9 in 2015, used Larnaca as a base, “with no problem,” Eni says.

But, though Cypriots are not shy of touting their country’s supposed future gas riches, the key industry for the moment is...