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Economy

No Turkish Gunships Seen, ExxonMobil Starts Drilling Off Cyprus

December 23, 2021

NICOSIA – After warnings from Turkey not to encroach on waters it has claimed, the US energy giant ExxonMobil and its partner Qatar Petroleum have begun exploration for energy off the coast or Cyprus without incident so far.

The Cyprus Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry said the assessment drilling was taking place Dec. 23 in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize.

With Turkish warships ready to protect its country’s energy research vessel also looking around the same waters, the United States said that ExxonMobil wouldn’t cross the line.

The Cypriot ministry said the work started in the Glaucus-2 deposit in Block 10 of the EEZ by the two foreign companies licensed to explore there in the face of Turkish demands to keep clear.

The drilling work, being carried out by the drillship Stena Forth, will be monitored on a continuous basis by staff from the Cyprus Hydrocarbon Company and the ministry, said Kathimerini.

Minister Natasa Pilides wrote on Twitter about the drilling that was the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, 2020, and with tension remaining with Turkey which is defying soft European Union sanctions.

With the Glaucus-2 assessment drilling, the program resumes in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. Together with our licensees, we have worked to ensure the safety of their activities in the midst of a pandemic,” she said.

In 2019 the companies had announced the discovery of an estimated 5-8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas but Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot occupied northern third rejected an offer from Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to share 30 percent of potentially lucrative revenues with them.

Turkey authorized its own state-run company to begin work that has seen the EU retreat from getting any tougher and the United Nations ignoring repeated entreaties from Anastasiades to intervene.

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