With Turkey threatening foreign companies to stay out of Cyprus' sovereign waters where some have already been licensed to hunt for oil and gas, more American companies are weighing the risk and willing to take the chance.
US Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber, without identifying them, said additional American companies will operate in Cyprus, joining ExxonMobil and Texas' Noble Energy, the Cyprus Mail reported about her address to the American Chamber of Commerce in Cyprus, in Nicosia.
She said US interests are inextricably intertwined with Cyprus now as there's a potential for huge revenues in the island's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey has unlawfully invaded with two drills and no one stopping it.
The US has backed Cyprus' right to license foreign companies, with Italy's ENI and France's Total also in the region but with Turkish warships guarding its countries energy research vessels and fears of a conflict, accidental or otherwise, still ongoing.
“We also believe these resources should be equitably shared between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities. We are concerned about the unlawful activities of the drillship Yavuz, which is operating within the territorial sea of the Republic of Cyprus. This provocative and unlawful step raises tensions in the region. We are confident that these resources can contribute to the overall economic wellbeing of Cyprus and thus be a positive force for achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem,” she added.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has already agreed to share energy revenues and offered 30 percent to Turkish-Cypriots, whose leader, Mustafa Akinci rejected the proposal. Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan want their side to also have a hand in the licensing.
Garber said that, “We are proud that two American companies – ExxonMobil and Noble Energy – are participating in this game-changing development.” Turkey has steered clear of them with ships from the US Sixth Fleet in the region.
“I firmly believe other US companies in the energy sector will join them, as Cyprus transitions from discovery of energy resources to the hard task of bringing those resources to market,” she added, the paper said.
The potential for big profits is the hook. She said that, “Investors from America and elsewhere always look for predictable, stable environments, with assurances that agreements and contracts will be honored, backed by secure financial institutions to manage income and expenses.”
Greece, Israel and Egypt are also interested in energy deals on Cyprus in separate deals.