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The United States will not interfere with Cyprus’ ability to look for oil and gas resources offshore, according to a statement on Wednesday by Kathleen Doherty, the U.S. ambassador to the Mediterranean island country.
U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil docked its leased exploration vessel in the Cypriot port of Limassol this week in preparation for impending offshore drilling. Turkish warships have blocked the Italian company Eni from docking similar vessels twice this year. Ankara argues that fossil fuel revenues must be shared with the Turkish Cypriots in the north of the divided island.
"The United States has consistently reiterated its support for the Republic of Cyprus’ right to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone,” Doherty said during a news briefing. "At the same time, we have noted that we believe the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement.”
Turkey is the only country to recognize the independence of the Turkish Cypriot government from Nicosia. Ankara had invaded the area in 1974. All other countries recognize Cypriot sovereignty over the whole island.
Last month, supermajors Eni and Total announced that they had made a promising gas discovery offshore Cyprus that confirms that the Zohr-like play where Eni found the biggest gas deposit in the Mediterranean offshore Egypt extends into the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.
The discovery, named Calypso 1, will need additional studies to assess the range of the gas volumes in place and define further exploration and appraisal operations, Eni said in its statement.
“Cyprus is moving forward with its exploration program and quest to become a #NatGas producer,” Georgios Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry & Tourism of Cyprus, said after Eni’s announcement.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…