The energy plans of the Republic of Cyprus continue despite the postponement of drilling to the SOUPIA target, said Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, stressing that the planning of Nicosia for the next drilling does not change. Speaking at Cyprus national television (RIK), Lakkotropis noted that Turkey’s provocation do not come as a surprise, while recalling that Turkey has always tried to intimidate the countries and companies operating in the EEZ Republic, without however achieving its goal.
To the question whether there is a clearer picture of what’s going on, the minister said that “we have a clearer picture of the SOUPIA target and the postponement caused by Turkey. The drilling in SOUPIA has been postponed, which is not a good development. This, however, does not overturn anything else we have planned and is in progress. I am not surprised by Turkey’s attitude. Besides, it is a country that does not respect its citizens, not least its neighbors. What I am most surprised about are Turkish Cypriots and their positions in recent days. This was an unpleasant surprise. However, our energy plans are continuing with regard to the research program and exploitation agreements. They have seen some statements from Egyptian officials showing that things are progressing as we have planned.
With the agreement reached with Egypt, the political/institutional framework between us and Egypt is in fact complete. The pipeline to be built, we are currently discussing that it will start from the Aphrodite plot and end up on one of Egypt’s two terminals. However, I must point out that this agreement does not specify which points will be linked to the pipeline. The agreement defines any pipeline or pipelines from the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to the Egyptian coast through the Egyptian EEZ.
Once the negotiations / discussions have been concluded – and we are already well advanced on this issue – the pipeline work that a consortium has to undertake is also to be done. Already, the companies involved in the negotiation process have expressed their willingness to invest in this pipeline, which shows that it is viable”.
It is estimated that the growth of the deposit will exceed 3 billion, while the pipeline will exceed 1 billion, so the bulk of the development concerns the deposit itself and not its transfer, but both together form a financial framework that must be completed and which is at an advanced stage, Lakkotrypis clarified.
As to what to expect in the following days, with regard to the pipeline, the Energy minister said that “in a few days the agreement will go to the EU. And this is an important development, because the process is essentially completed. After taking into consideration the comments of Europe, we will sign.
For the trade agreement, however, we still need a little work. Allow me not to elaborate on this issue. There are other moves that will take place soon within our EEZ and involve collaborations and collaborative grids, which also demonstrates a continuation by the companies standing by and believing in the perspective of the Republic of Cyprus EEZ. There are constantly developments in this direction, but they are not yet to be announced. However, several companies and partnerships are involved, which we consider to be even more shielding the whole context.
However, we need to think, with everything that has happened, about how we adapt our strategy to this new context that Turkey is trying to shape with its aggressive aggression. Until now, we have proceeded with several drillings since 2011. It has happened to have this problem in block 3. Turkey has always been trying to intimidate the countries of the companies operating here, as well as the companies themselves and has failed. Now they are trying to intimidate us. The recent development is negative. We have tried to keep low tones and leave room for diplomacy, hoping that drilling could go ahead with the help of diplomacy. We had to test if diplomacy would really did bear fruit. It would not be right not to try. The effort was made and Turkish provocation was revealed in the eyes of the rest of the world, especially the European partners.
All this – e.g. the festivities that took place in Turkey because 4-5 warships prevented an unarmed drilling machine – of course, also shows the insecurity that our neighbors have”.
Lakkotrypis was also asked whether the position of Italy satisfies the Government. “One of last Friday’s successes is that the issue has emerged as a European issue rather than Greek/Cypriot/Italian. All that has happened over the past 15 days will be a matter of reflection and reflection on how to move forward”, he said.
The minister said that Turkey’s actions did not come as a surprise as they were one of the scenarios Nicosia expected, although it was not the predominant one.
“But it is neither the first nor the last time these things happen”, he pointed out.
“However, I would like to refer to the comments of the pseudo-minister that we heard yesterday (Sunday). They should first answer the question whether they adopt the Turkish version of the EEZ of Cyprus. The Turkish version limits our EEZ to 30% of what it is today. If we accept the Turkish version, it means that “Aphrodite” falls under the Israeli EEZ, the “Calypso” and “Onesiforos” deposits in the Egyptian EEZ, the entire plot 10 in the Egyptian EEZ and SOUPIA falls within the Lebanese EEZ. Therefore, a serious question that they now have to answer as Cypriots is whether they accept the Turkish version of the EEZ, while at the same time they demand co-management.
The Turkish Cypriots are talking about sharing the EEZ before a solution in the Cyprus problem. Natural resources, however, are not just hydrocarbons. Natural resource is also the land, which 20-30 years ago when we were a rural economy, was a major resource. So why should we focus on hydrocarbons and why should they be shared with or without a solution?”, Lakkotrypis concluded./IBNA