A report from Cyprus mail said on Friday that the plans to begin exploration drilling for oil and gas reserves by the Cyprus government will go ahead in six weeks as scheduled. The Energy Service said that if successful the endeavour will be for the benefit of all Cypriots, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. “We will begin drilling on October 1, perhaps even a week earlier,” said its director, Solon Kassinis.
He added: “We are operating in line with international law on these issues. We’ve done everything. Environmental studies that no one else has done even if the drilling is explorative. Therefore we are moving forward based on international law and what we find will not only be for the Greek Cypriots. We never said something like that. It is for all legal residents of Cyprus.”
Kassinis comments were made in reference to Turkish concerns that the Turkish Cypriot community had not been represented in Cyprus’ drilling agreements with its neighbours and said any such agreements were illegal. Turkey has threatened to take action if the drilling goes ahead pending a Cyprus problem solution which would ensure the Turkish Cypriot community’s representation.
Nevertheless Kassinis assured that all steps had been taken in accordance to international law and that nothing would deter the go ahead this autumn. He said the procedure was expected to last two months, depending on any difficulties that might arise, and that the exploration would determine the quantity and quality of any natural gas find.
Kassinis added that a meeting between the Commerce Minister and US firm ‘Noble Energy’, which had undertaken the exploration contract, had been scheduled for today to address any and all issues related to the project. He said: “The government will examine how we will transfer the gas, if it will be transferred via a pipeline, how big this pipeline will be, who is to be involved in the procedure and whether we will be able to export it via a liquefaction plant.”
The government signed a production-sharing contract with ‘Noble Energy’ earlier this year to launch exploration activities in block 12, an 800,000-acre economic zone southeast of the island which borders Israeli waters and where massive gas fields were found under the seabed. The contract was signed following an agreement for the delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with Israel in 2010.
The government also signed agreements for the delineation of the EEZ with Lebanon and Egypt four years ago.
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