By Jean Christou
ENERGY Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Wednesday there has been no problem so far in terms of Turkey’s EEZ violation interfering with the ENI-KOGAS drilling in Block 9.
At the same time, he said, no one could predict how far the Turkish provocation would go.
The Turkish seismic exploration vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa entered the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Monday. The move came after Ankara issued a maritime notice, or NAVTEX, reserving certain areas of the EEZ for surveys from October 20 to December 30.
After moving further into the island’s EEZ on Tuesday, the Barbaros was only some 30 nautical miles south of Limassol and approximately the same distance north from the ENI-KOGAS drillship Sapiem 10000.
On Wednesday, the vessel was 35 nautical miles east of Cape Greco and 78 nautical miles north-east of the Sapiem.
“We are in daily contact with the company [ENI] and we are monitoring the developments both electronically and manually,” Lakkotrypis told CyBC’s morning programme.
“[Energy ministry]… officials are receiving the relevant training so that they can stay on the platform from the beginning of next month,” he added.
He said the drilling venture was primarily being informed about the developments from its local offices in Cyprus. He expects to meet with the companies’ representatives within days to discuss the developments but mainly to talk about the next steps in the drilling process.
Lakkotrypis said that the first results of the drilling from Block 9 in the Onasagoras field were expected by December.
The minister said there had been no repercussions in a business sense, in that interest from international companies had not waned in any way. He said many companies were used to operating under difficult conditions, political and otherwise.
“They have not been discouraged in any way. Besides, we all know that during the licensing round and after expressing their intention to submit a tender for operating in the blocks of the Republic of Cyprus, there had been interventions on behalf of Turkey, which the companies ignored,” he said.