A moratorium on hydrocarbon activities in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, due to Cyprus settlement efforts or ongoing Turkish provocations, would signal “the end of all energy prospects for the country” Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, said on Monday.
The Minister delivered his remarks during a press conference, in Nicosia, while taking stock of the work of his Ministry from 2013 until 2020. The minister has tendered his resignation, as he will be shifting to the private sector.
Asked to comment whether the Republic of Cyprus could unilaterally apply a drilling moratorium in the EEZ, in order to defuse tension with Turkey or to give impetus to Cyprus-settlement talks, taking into account its contractual obligations, the Minister said that “the answer is clearly no.”
“If the time comes when we ourselves tell our companies, ‘Stop what you are doing because of the Cyprus issue or the Turkish provocations, that would signal the end of Cyprus’ energy prospects”, he said.
Besides, he stressed that the development and production plan for the “Aphrodite” reservoir ratified in 2019 provides for a route to Egypt’s Idku. “This is, according to the companies’ data, possibly the only solution offered for the “Aphrodite” under those circumstances”, he said, although he did not rule out the possibility of more synergies being concluded in the future.
He also said that, for the Republic of Cyprus, all options are maturing at the same time, as “EU-backed EastMed explorations are currently being carried out, while the plannings for the rest also continue, until the time comes for the Republic to decide what to choose”.
“If the conditions of the pandemic allow it, if the conditions of the market allow it, I mean the global hydrocarbon industry, drilling will proceed normally. Absolutely”, he stressed.
“If it weren’t for the pandemic and all of the consequences it engendered, we would be wrapping up the first drilling operation right now. And we would be moving on to the second one. Turkey’s provocations is not news. Both seismically and in terms of drilling, if I’m not mistaken, this is the sixth time such a thing has happened. We are not talking about something new. And yet, we see from our planning that it is moving forward. Regardless of the difficulties, we are taking one step at a time towards the goals we have set. The exploration program that was postponed is very important. It is extensive and will give us a more complete picture of the hydrocarbon resources of our EEZ. And it will allow us to have before us the decisions on the options of exploitation”, the outgoing Minister explained.
Asked if he was leaving anything behind, he replied that this was the insistence of his team and himself for a digital transformation of his ministry. /ibna