Turkey’s recent threats regarding oil and gas exploration within South Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) “are nothing new” and will not hinder South Cyprus’ energy plans, the South’s Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said today.
“The Turkish threats are nothing new, that’s why we have to keep calm…Nicosia will certainly continue efforts to align its best interests with those of third countries as well as with those of the European Union,” he said.
“Turkey had threatened and carried out provocations both in 2011 when (American) Noble Energy was carrying out drills as well as in 2012 when the second licensing round was announced and it does just the same right now,” he added, after the South signed off on energy exploration licenses with ExxonMobile, Eni and Total last week.
On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement which said: “It is unacceptable for the Greek Cypriot administration to act as the owner of the island, ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots and sign agreements for hydrocarbon research with companies and consortia.
“We had expressed our objections in regard to research in areas that the Turkish Cypriots also have rights. In addition, much of ‘area 6’ is in the Turkish continental shelf. We will not allow in any way the exploration from foreign companies in our area of responsibility,” it added.
Ministers from South Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Italy have unveiled plans for an East Mediterranean pipeline running all the way from Israel to the coast of Italy.
France’s Total announced that it will start drilling during the first two weeks of July in Bloc 11, which is close to the massive Egyptian Zohr field.