Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis announced on Tuesday that Cyprus is planning to carry out eight drillings in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), during the next 24 months.
The Minister said that six of those will be exploratory, while two will be confirmatory.
"Activities in the Cyprus EEZ continue. Eight drillings have been scheduled for the next 24 months. Six exploratory and two confirmatory”, said the Minister, during a presentation of the work of his Ministry from March 2018 through April 2019.
The Minister refrained from revealing in which blocks of the EEZ the drillings will take place, but said that the targets have been located and drillings will begin before the end of the year or beginning of 2020.
Lakkotrypis said that the Government is at the final stage of the licensing procedure for block 7. He added that the agreement between France’s TOTAL and Italy’s ENI does not concern only block 7, noting that they have reached a preliminary agreement based on which the two energy giants will expand their cooperation in other blocks of the EEZ as well.
Moreover, the Minister said that the Government is very close to an agreement with the licensees of the `Aphrodite` gas field and that a Development and Production Plan they have submitted will be discussed at a workshop coming Wednesday and Thursday, while negotiations will take place on Thursday and Friday and are also close to wrapping up. “Only some legal points are left (to be agreed upon) regarding the agreement between us”, said Lakkotrypis.
Lakkotrypis said that with the exception of “Aphrodite”, the Government has not yet decided which is the best option for Cyprus to develop its gas fields. He pointed out that other options are being considered, such as building an LNG terminal in Cyprus and noted that the Ministry has begun a dialogue with all the licensees in the EEZ of Cyprus to come up with a common planning.
Asked about Turkey’s provocations in the EEZ of Cyprus, the Energy Minister recalled that the Government implements both diplomatic and legal measures, concerning Turkey and the companies involved and stressed that the Ministries of Energy, Foreign Affairs and Defence are making an “intensive effort” at all levels to put an end to Turkey’s illegal actions.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The latest round of talks under the UN aegis ended without results in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana.
Ankara has issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. The Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.