Greek Cyprus will continue offshore gas search
The leader of Greek Cyprus, which faces Turkish opposition to its plans to explore for offshore gas, said on Monday his country would press ahead with the search and planned a new licensing round soon.
Dimitris Christofias on Monday visited a gas drilling rig south of the Mediterranean island, a project that Turkey disputes. It was his first visit since US concession partners Noble started an exploratory drill in September.
"My presence here underlines the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus which we are determined to exercise," Christofias said, according to a statement issued by his administration's press office.
Turkey, which backs Turkish Cyprus, has challenged the jurisdiction of Greek Cyprus in searching for oil and gas.
It says any natural resources of Cyprus island also belong to Turkish Cypriots, who do not participate in the island's internationally-recognised government.
The results of Noble's exploratory drilling are expected in early to mid December. Based on pre-drill data, the prospect is estimated to contain 3 to 9 trillion cubic feet of gas.
"We hope for the best possible results soon," said Christofias. "We will also announce a second hydrocarbons licensing round."
A discovery would make Greek Cyprus, which is heavily reliant on imports for power generation, self sufficient in gas. Local officials estimate that annual needs of the Mediterranean island, with a population of just under 1 million people, do not exceed 1 billion cubic metres per year Todayszaman reported
Greek Cyprus launched its first licensing round in 2007.