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Cyprus is starting the drilling for oil and gas

19 September 2011 / 13:09:11  GRReporter
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A new beginning for Cyprus is the start of the exploration for natural gas in the exclusive economic zone of the island. The drilling in plot 12, which is called Aphrodite, is expected to begin this week, and according to some sources - today or tomorrow. Commentators define this development as historical not only for Cyprus but for the entire region. The exploration will begin despite the threats Ankara made last month.

At the same time, the Norwegian vessel Bergen Surveyor, which Turkey hired to explore the maritime area between Cyprus and Greece from 15 September to 15 November, is around Akama near the Turkish coast. The Cypriot newspaper Filelevteros reads that the ship put down a cable into the southwest region of Paphos. According to some senior officers from the Greek Ministry of Defence, most likely the ship will begin to explore the area of ​​the Greek and Cypriot exclusive economic zone because of Turkey's claim to some areas located there.

On the diplomatic level, Ankara continues to make threats not only to Cyprus, but also to the European Union. The Foreign Minister Ahmet Davitoglu warned that if the joint drilling of Cyprus and Israel is not suspended before resolving the Cyprus issue, then "the solution will be two states on the island." The Vice - President of the Turkish government Besir Atalay said that if the negotiations fail and the Republic of Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in the second half of 2012, without the Cyprus issue being resolved, Turkey would freeze its relations with the European Union.

In recent days, the pressure from Ankara to the EU and individual states has strengthened. It is stated in a protest note by the Turkish Foreign Ministry that the drilling would "bury" the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue. Referring to the negotiations between Dimitris Christofias and Dervis Eroglu under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, Turkey has requested the European Commission to persuade Nicosia to stop the drilling.

There was a sharp response by the Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias to the Turkish threats. "Turkey has no right to protest, neither to threaten nor cause stress, because of the Republic of Cyprus explorations for natural gas." He announced that Cyprus would continue to exercise its sovereign rights, among which is the right of use of natural resources within the international law. Dimitris Christofias described as illegal any agreement that Turkey and the unrecognized Northern Cyprus could sign to specify the shelf between them. He sent a message that within a Cypriot federation, Cyprus Greeks and Turks would together take advantage of the found natural resources. Dimitris Christofias urged Turkey to realize that it would benefit from solving the Cyprus issue through signing agreements of cooperation in various fields, including energy.

The natural gas deposits in plot 12 will be drilled with Israel because it is located within the exclusive economic zones of both countries. According to the Director of the Cyprus Energy Service Solon Kassinis, the reserves in that particular plot are around 8,000 billion cubic feet of natural gas. He said the drilling would take place at a depth of 5000 m under the seabed in a place where the sea water level is 1.7 km, without using any chemicals. According to him, it would be clear until the end of the year how large the deposits in plot 12 are.

Recently, during a congress in the US city of Houston, Solon Kassinis said that the area of ​​Cyprus has about 1.68 million barrels of oil and 1.22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In his opinion, Cyprus is located on a major energy crossroads and will play a leading role for Europe in the field of energy. Solon Kassinis said that according to the first estimates for the joint utilization of the total deposits with Israel, the production would begin in 2014 and the first road terminal would be ready in 2019.

Tags: PoliticsTurkeyExclusive economic zoneCyprusIsraelDrillingDepositsOilNatural gasShelfTurkeyEuropean UnionTensions
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