In his speech at the Economist Conference “23rd Roundtable with the Government of Greece: Europe leaving indecisiveness behind?”, held on Wednesday, July 17, in Athens, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus, Giorgos Lakkotrypis said that within the next two years five exploratory and five confirmatory drillings will be carried out in the licensed Blocks of the Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Referring to the recent findings of natural gas in the Cyprus’ ΕΕΖ by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum, Lakkotrypis said that this specific deposit could cover over 40% of Europe’s gas needs for 2018.
“It is a very important finding which will help us to proceed with the creation of an energy corridor that will interlink producer countries with consumer and transport countries”, Lakkotrypis explained.
As regards the Turkish illegal activities in the Cyprus’ ΕΕΖ, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry expressed the view that Turkey’s goal is to create conditions of instability in the Eastern Mediterranean and to deter big energy companies from investing in the region.
Lakkotrypis also said that Turkey could participate in the East Med Gas Forum, becoming thus part of the solution, not part of the problem. He also stressed that the Cypriot government has repeatedly called Turkey to discuss the delimitation of maritime zones, however Turkey has not responded.
Turkey issued in May a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast last week.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.