With Turkey sending energy research vessels and warships into the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to hunt for oil and gas, Cyprus has made a preliminary new deal with the United States’ Noble Energy, the United Kingdom’s Shell and Israeli conglomerate Delek over revenues from the Aphrodite field.
That also includes the transfer of natural gas by underwater pipeline to the Idku LNG terminal in Egypt, Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotropis said the renegotiated deal with the companies expected to bring in $520 million per year as state revenue and $9.4 billion for the agreed 18-year contract duration.
He said that compared with the existing contract, the new agreement will yield $850 million less but the agreement will insure the country can meet its energy needs, said Kathimerini Cyprus.
Lakkotrypis also said that the new agreement provides for “specific and very strict clauses” to ensure the realization of investments in EEZ, as the United States and European Union said Turkey should not infringe in the area.
Lakkotrypis said that the deal would soon be approved by the Council of Ministers and that it would be possible to utilize natural gas by 2024 or 2025. He also said an agreement with France’s Total and Italy’s Eni, licensed to drill in the EEZ, would be coming soon.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said he was willing to share potentially lucrative revenues - the US company ExxonMobil said it’s made a major gas find - with the Turkish-Cypriot side unlawfully occupying the northern third of the island since 1974.
That wasn’t enough for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who said they wanted to take part in the licensing of companies as well, with Turkey then sending in its own vessels.
The hunt for energy has been a catalyst in hopes to reunify the island with the last round of talks collapsing in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Erdogan and Akinci said they would never remove a Turkish army from the occupied territory and wanted the right to militarily intervene again when they wanted.