Cyprus said on Thursday it will continue exploration of gas deposits off the island despite Ankara’s warning this week
against carrying out projects in this area.
Yesterday, earlier in the day, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that his country would take action
against the exploration of gas by the Cypriot authorities, without giving further details.
Monday, a few days after the failure of the last round of negotiations on the reunification of
the Mediterranean island, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned international companies against possible gas projects in Cyprus.
The following day, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had supported him “the sovereign rights” of Cyprus to the exploitation of its gas fields.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 and the invasion of the Turkish army of the northern third of the island in reaction
to a nationalist coup aimed at linking it to Greece.
The Turkish Cypriot entity installed in the north is recognized only by Ankara.
In 2011, the American firm Noble Energy was the first to discover gas off the coast of Cyprus,
in the Aphrodite field, whose reserves are estimated at 127.4 billion cubic meters of gas.
Its operation has not yet begun.
Cyprus hopes to eventually become a major energy player in the eastern Mediterranean and build a terminal on land to export gas to Europe
and Asia by 2022.
But it needs to find more gas reserves.
Greek Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said on Thursday that he remained unmoved by Turkey’s position.
“We are prepared for different scenarios,”
he told public radio.
“Our perception is that Turkey will continue to challenge us in one way or another.”
This rise in tensions comes as the French and Italian energy giants, Total and ENI, could start today, Friday 14th, a drilling test off Cyprus.
The two companies signed a hydrocarbon exploration contract in April.
( Gagrule )