Lakkotrypis said that Eni representatives in Nicosia assured him during the meeting recently that the company’s commitment to Cyprus is a given.
Nicosia sought clarification after Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said if there were warships in the area there would be no drilling.
Turkish drillship Yavuz is currently in block 7 where Cyprus has licensed France’s Total and ENI to explore for hydrocarbons.
"It would appear that Mr Descalzi - without wanting to speak on his behalf - was answering a question about whether he is concerned about Turkey escalating things in the Mediterranean and if you look at his reply, he is not worried," said Lakkotrypis.
He argued that Descalzi’s comments were made having in mind the safety of company personnel.
Lakkotrypis said the government’s exploration programme was going ahead as scheduled and contracts have been signed for the drilling rig which is to carry out tests on behalf of Total-Eni off Cyprus.
Asked whether Ankara could take advantage of Descalzi’s comments by sending in navy ships, Lakkotrypis pointed out the less said the better.
“Right now, we know the planning, the window within which the drillings will start, we know the targets selected, but we simply choose not to say anything.”
He expects drilling operations to start at the end of this year or the beginning of 2020.
The Italian oil and gas group’s Chief Executive said on Thursday that Eni is not in the business of escalating tensions between Cyprus and Turkey over offshore drilling and would stay out of any conflict.
“I’m not worried,” Descalzi said at a conference in Rome. “If someone shows up with warships, I won’t drill wells... I certainly don’t want to provoke a war over drilling wells.”
Source: Financial Mirror