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Lakkotrypis: We Remain Focused on Drilling in Block 11

Lakkotrypis: We Remain Focused on Drilling in Block 11

The government remains down to earth and focused on conducting an exploratory drilling safely in the “Onesiphoros West-1” well in block 11, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Thursday, as TOTAL’s drillship West Capella arrived in block 11 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In statements after attending a meeting of the parliamentary committee Development Plans and Public Expenditure Control, Lakkotrypis said the drillship has been stabilised and drilling will commence in the next few days and is expected to conclude in the next 75 days.

The Energy Minister said Turkish threats are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mainly with legal means, the Cyprus News Agency reports.

He pointed out however the government does not expect a large natural gas discovery in block 11.

“The estimates are that Onesiphoros will be of the caliber of Aphrodite (block 12, 4.5 trillion cubic feet) and is not expected to be a game-changer in the region,” he said.

The Minister added that this drilling focuses on the seamount Eratosthenis that came to the fore following the huge discovery of the Egyptian Zhor, the largest discovery in the Mediterranean Sea to date, estimated to hold 30 tcf. Zhor gas field is only six kilometers south of block 11.

“This drilling is important as it is the first of the second drilling cycle and we look forward to the results which would assist in the further utilisation of the rest geologic structures that have been discovered within our EEZ,” he went on to say.

Replying to a question regarding threats by Turkey, which does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and denies its right to an EEZ, Lakkotrypis said we have shown that while maintaining a low profile we can deal with threats and that the answer to these threats is the work being done and the commencement of the drilling.

“As the drilling began smoothly our aim is the drilling to conclude smoothly and safely,” he added.

Invited to comment on deliberations by Turkey and Israel to construct a subsea pipeline to transport Israeli natural gas to Turkey, Lakkotrypis recalled in case the pipeline enters in the Cypriot EEZ, the project will not only demand the consent of the Republic of Cyprus but also its active participation.

He added that these issues are governed by bilateral agreements, recalling that Cyprus and Egypt have signed such an agreement providing for the boundaries of jurisdiction between the two states.

“Such an agreement between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus is not possible as Ankara, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 and occupies its northern third ever since, does not recognize Cyprus and its rights to an EEZ,” Lakkotrypis said, adding the issue is not only political but legal due to the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea which stipulates that to coastal state should give its consent for the pipeline.

“We know our rights and our obligations very well,” he concluded.

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