Cyprus continues drilling in spite of Turkish provocations, Minister says

Cyprus continues drilling in spite of Turkish provocations, Minister says

The Republic of Cyprus carries on with the drilling activities in its Exclusive Economic Zone in spite of Turkish provocations, Energy Ministrer Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has said.

He clarified that there is a small delay concerning the ENI drilling, due to technical difficulties, but he pointed out that by the end of the month the first results from the drilling at `Onasagoras` reserve are expected to be announced.

Speaking on Friday during a presentation for the new regulation in the electricity market and replying to a question on the progress of ENI drilling, the Minister said this continues according to plan, albeit at a slower pace because of some technical difficulties.

“We are expecting that within December we will have the first results from `Onasagoras` reserve and we are in consultation with the company on when the announcements will take place. The planning has already started for the transfer of the platform to where the second drilling will be, at blocks 2, 3 and 9“, he explained.

Invited to comment on the provocations by Ankara and the obstacles it is trying to create in the process, the Minister reiterated the government`s firm position that the Republic is not at all affected by these actions and carries on according to schedule.

“We are expecting these preliminary results to be able to say if there are quantities of natural gas and what these quantities are“, Lakkotrypis said.

Replying to another question about the technical difficulties that came along, the Minister explained that they have to do with the increasing pressure found at these specific depths. These, he said, are related to the geology of the seabed which causes some delays in the drilling.

Invited to comment on Turkey`s recent statement that it is ready to set its own platform in the island`s EEZ, the Minister said these statements are related to the offensive behaviour the Turkish side is showing. He went on to say that because the Turkish side is deploying such an offensive stance, no company is willing to rent out a platform as they do not want to be part of this violation.

He also said that the government is addressing these violations and actions as agreed with the political parties and if there is a new development, it is announced to the public.

Turkey, whose troops occupy one third of Cyprus since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004.

Numerous rounds of UN-backed talks to reunite the island under a federal roof have failed to yield results. Recently, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades decided to suspend his participation in settlement talks, following Turkey`s provocative acts in the island`s exclusive economic zone.

Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros entered Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone in October, a few days after Turkey had issued an illegal maritime order (NAVTEX) for the area.

Consortium ENI/KOGAS has been awarded exploration licenses in Cyprus` EEZ, namely in Blocks 2,3 and 9. ENI completed 2 seismic surveys, and is planning to drill 6 wells in the coming 18 months.