Cyprus signed on Wednesday agreements with France’s Total and Italy’s Eni for exploration in block 7 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Contracts were also signed for the farm-in of Total in blocks 2, 3, 8 and 9.
Cyprus’ Energy Minister, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, said this is a very important development related to the Republic of Cyprus’ energy programme. He also noted that up to six drilling operations are expected to be conducted in the blocks for which ENI and Total have been licenced, while a total of nine exploratory and appraisal wells are expected to be carried out over the next 24 months.
Asked when the new drillings are expected to begin, the Minister said that this is currently being discussed with the companies. Moreover, he noted that today’s development strengthens the consortiums in Cyprus’ EEZ, at technical, economic and geopolitical level.
The contracts were signed during a ceremony at the Energy Ministry, in Nicosia, by Lakkotrypis and representatives of Total, ENI and the Korean company KOGAS, in the presence of Finance Minister, Harris Georgiades and the Ambassadors of France and Italy to Cyprus, Isabell Dumont and Andrea Cavallari, respectively.
The Cabinet approved last July the granting of a license for offshore block 7 to Total and Eni with a share of 50 per cent each. At the same time the Cabinet granted Total a license for blocks 2, 3, 9 and 8 in which Eni is already a licensee.
With the new contracts, Eni remains the major stakeholder in 2, 3 and 9 with a 60 per cent stake in block 2, a 50 per cent stake in block 3 and a 60 per cent in block 9. Total now owns 20 per cent, 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively in the same blocks, while Kogas continues to hold 20 per cent in each. Moreover, Total will receive from Eni a share of 40% for block 8.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Lakkotrypis said that the contracts signed add to the cooperation framework of the Republic of Cyprus with the companies, something that was achieved at the initiative of Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, in cooperation with the Executive Directors of Total and Eni.
He went on to say that the signing of the contracts constitutes a very important development in Cyprus’ energy programme, as the presence of the companies in Cyprus’ EEZ is expanded and their strategic cooperation in the island’s EEZ is deepened and strengthened.
Moreover, Lakkotrypis said that “we are moving forward on schedule”, noting that some developments such as bad weather conditions have caused some delay.
Meanwhile, a source close to developments related to Cyprus’ energy programme has said that despite any provocations in Cyprus’ EEZ the programme remains on track and everything runs normally.
The source underlined that the fact that the two energy giants, Total and Eni, will now work together in various blocks of Cyprus` EEZ is very important, adding that the planning for the drillings is expected to be agreed in the next weeks.
As regards the Calypso well in block 6 of Cyprus’ EEZ, the source noted that an appraisal drilling has to be carried out. There have been indications that this well is expanded in block 7.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey issued a navigational telex (navtex), announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus and since 4 May 2019, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored 36 nautical miles west of Akamas peninsula. The area falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara extended the navtex until November 1, 2019. A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, was anchored off the island’s north-eastern coast on July 8 and operated within the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. Ac Turkish media reported earlier this week that Yavuz has completed the first round of drilling and is now off Mersin in southern Turkey.
EU Foreign Ministers endorsed on 15 July 2019 measures concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In accordance with the 20 June 2019 European Council conclusions, Foreign Ministers also invited the High Representative and the European Commission to continue working on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.