Following strong interest from international energy companies in the hydrocarbon deposits in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the government has opened a third round of bids for drilling rights. The announcement of the commencement of the process was made in the official governmental and European Union gazettes. At a press conference, government spokesperson Mr Christdoulidies said that the plots on offer were numbers six, eight and ten. Confirmed deposits of some 4.54 trillion cubic feet (tcf) have already been declared in field twelve although this has not yet been monetised. Discussions about how to achieve this are ongoing. Bidders have one hundred and twenty days from the publication date to submit their applications. The Minister of Energy Mr. Lakkotrypis, who was also at the press conference, said that these areas on offer are deemed likely to contain hydrocarbon deposits similar to those found in the giant Egyptian Zhor field announced last year.
This is because the formation and structure of these hydrocarbons are closely linked to the Eratosthenes Continental Block which is situated within the Cyprus EEZ but this could only be confirmed by exploratory drilling. The minister also indicated that up to seven plots could be licenced if the proposals received were sufficiently interesting. Mr. Lakkotrypis recently returned from an official visit to Moscow and said that although there was interest from Russia he would not pass further comment on this issue.
Turkey has raised some objections to these proposals because it says that plot six is on the border of the Turkish continental shelf. In a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry it was stated that the proposed explorations could hamper the peace negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and that they also denied Turkish Cypriots their rights to be equal partners in the matter. In response, a statement from the Cyprus Foreign Ministry asserted that such natural resources belong to the Cypriot citizens, and after a settlement all members of the Cypriot population would be the beneficiaries.
Sources: in-cyprus.com, digital.philenews.com.
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