articles | 06 August 2016

Cyprus gas search continues

Cyprus is moving ahead with oil exploration in its Exclusive Economic Zone, despite recent threats by Turkey.

This is what the government said in response to a statement by Turkey’s foreign ministry warning energy companies bidding for offshore Block 6 that any exploratory activity is unauthorised.

Ankara claims part of the block, located off the island’s southwest coast, lies within Turkey’s continental shelf – a claim supported only by Ankara.

“The Republic of Cyprus is determined to protect its sovereign rights, using all means available to it via international law,” the Cyprus Foreign Ministry said.

“If Turkey questions these rights, it has but to act peacefully and seek the internationally prescribed legal remedies,” it added.

Italian energy giant ENI jointly with France’s Total is bidding for Block 6 in the latest round of undersea energy exploration contracts.

On top of wanting to control Cyprus, Turkish President Erdogan is furious at the Italians for prosecuting his son Bilal for money laundering.

Turkey’s foreign ministry threatened to contact the international energy companies bidding for drilling rights, demanding that they stop their efforts.

More broadly, Turkey’s claims partly overlap with Cyprus’ Blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7.

However, Cyprus sent the message that it is determined to proceed with exploiting natural gas and oil and use the proceeds to promote economic prosperity for the whole island.

“Turkey’s attitude is provocative and destabilising,” added Nicosia.

There seems to be something else on Turkey’s agenda, it wants to run a pipeline through Cyprus territory and probably believes it can intimidate the government.

Cyprus, however, is strongly allied with Israel which has a direct financial interest in helping the island.

Delek and Noble Energy, both tied to Israel, are the main partners in the Aphrodite field, where 120 feet of net natural gas was discovered.

The well represents the third-largest field discovered to date within the Deepwater Levant Basin.

Israeli firms Delek and Avner are also bidding for block 8.

Cyprus received interest in its third licensing round for offshore hydrocarbon blocks from ExxonMobil, Statoil, ENI, Total, Qatar Petroleum, Delek/Avner and Cairn.

Source: InCyprus

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