NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — ExxonMobil and accomplice Qatar Energy expanded their stake in potential oil and gasoline deposits off Cyprus by signing a cope with the east Mediterranean island nation Friday for a second exploration license in waters that Turkey partly claims.
Drilling off Cyprus has been a supply of pressure with neighboring Turkey since 2011, when Texas-based Noble Energy found the primary pure gasoline off the ethnically divided island’s southern coast.
Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilides mentioned with the brand new license, ExxonMobil is predicted to begin exploration within the first half of subsequent yr to get a greater estimate of potential quantities of oil and gasoline.
She added there are “sufficiently hopeful indications” that the geological make-up of the underwater space mirrors that of a close-by spot the place ExxonMobil found in 2019 a large deposit estimated to comprise 5-8 trillion cubic toes of gasoline. The two power corporations are drilling an appraisal properly at that deposit to affirm how a lot gasoline it holds.
Varnavas Theodossiou, ExxonMobil Cyprus managing director, mentioned the brand new license “enables us to further expand our presence in Cyprus in what we believe to be a promising region for offshore exploration.”
The improvement comes amid Turkey’s warnings that it will “never allow” anybody to perform an “unauthorized” gasoline search in waters it claims partly fall underneath its management.
Cyprus’ ethnic cut up occurred in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup geared toward a union with Greece. Turkey would not acknowledge Cypriot statehood however as an alternative acknowledges a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence within the island’s northern third — the one nation to achieve this.
Ankara insists Cyprus’ internationally acknowledged authorities seated within the south is “acting unilaterally” in exploiting offshore gasoline reserves and ignores the rights of Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s hydrocarbon potential.
To drive the purpose dwelling, Turkey has dispatched quite a few warship-escorted drill and survey ships to perform exploratory drilling inside Cyprus’ unique financial zone. It additionally claims some 40% of that zone both lies inside its continental shelf or belongs to Turkish Cypriots.
The Cypriot authorities says Turkey’s claims aren’t acknowledged by worldwide legislation.
Cyprus additionally has licensed seven of its 13 offshore drilling areas to a consortium made up of France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni, which is predicted to resume its personal drilling within the first half of subsequent yr after an almost two-year delay introduced on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pilides, Cyprus’ power minister, mentioned ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum aren’t “troubled” by Turkey’s threats and the deal is proof of that. She mentioned the Cypriot authorities would stick with it with its drilling program according to worldwide legislation.