NICOSIA – With Turkish warships off the coast, ExxonMobil drilling for oil and gas nearby and ships from the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet in the region, the US Ambassador to Cyprus said the government should share the revenues from any potential discoveries with Turkish-Cypriots who’ve occupied the northern third since an unlawful 1974 invasion.
Kathleen Doherty was repeating America’s careful stance supporting Cyprus’ right to explore for energy in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) part of which Turkey also claims and where it’s been blocking foreign ships from entering.
But repeating the US position, she said the legitimate government – which has long agreed- should share the revenues even as the Turkish-Cypriot side it wants to be involved in the energy hunt or would conduct its own.
“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, OilPrice.com reported.
“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,” she said.
In February, the Italian company Eni – whose drill ship was forced under threat of being sunk to veer away from the area where has a license off Cyprus – and the French company Total said they had made a promising gas discovery offshore.
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.