Oil Giant Total leaves Cyprus after failing to find drilling targets

Oil Giant Total leaves Cyprus after failing to find drilling targets

Nicosia, January 23, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriacos Kyriacou

“The possibility of coming to an arrangement with oil giant Total was unlikely”, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Thursday, a day after it was reported that the company could abandon a search for oil and gas off Cyprus after failing to find tangible evidence of reserves.

The negative development has caused severe disappointment here in Cyprus after the high expectations created through statements and estimations in the previous months.

Total seems unable to locate drilling target areas withing the blocks 10 and 11 in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that it has been licensed to explore. The company stated that it is currently discussing with local authorities a potential programme of additional exploration works in the area.

Speaking after briefing the House President and Acting President of the Republic Yiannakis Omirou, on the matter, Lakkotrypis said that Total is considering pulling out from Cyprus` EEZ on geological, geophysical and economic grounds.

“We should not be discouraged, but neither we should have excessive expectations” Lakkotrypis said.

“At the moment, the possibility of an arrangement is remote” he noted, asked whether Total`s program could be extended until oil prices go up again.

He said that Cyprus is now focusing on the exploitation of “Aphrodite” reserve, located in the island`s block 12, as well as on the explorations in “Amathusa” reserve, of block 9, for which the results are expected in a few weeks.

He also said that talks between Cyprus and Egypt, as well as Jordan, to sell them natural gas, are now at a technical level.

President of the House and Acting President of the Republic Yiannakis Omirou stressed that there should be no disappointment, or create a negative atmosphere about Cyprus` energy potential, noting that there are already sufficient energy reserves in “Aphrodite”, to cover for a long time the island`s needs and even for exportation.

“Cyprus is already on the energy map and this is what matters” he noted.

Omirou reiterated that Cyprus` sovereign rights in its EEZ are non-negotiable, stressing that Turkey must respect the international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as customary maritime law.