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Next exploration round will determine the speed and way of hydrocarbon exploitation, Minister says

next exploration round

The next natural gas exploration round as well as the hydrocarbon quantities located will determine the speed and the exploitation of the hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides has said.

Addressing the 9th Energy Symposium in Nicosia, Pilides also expressed the view that natural gas should remain a transitory fuel as the EU progresses to the green transition despite views expressed that this should be banned from the energy mix.

“The next exploration round, which is expected to begin with the drilling by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum in block 10, is something we eagerly await with high expectations, because surely the hydrocarbon quantities in our offshore blocks will determine to a large extent the speed and the way of exploitation of the hydrocarbons in the Cypriot EEZ,” Pilides said.

Next month, the US-Qatari consortium is expected to carry out an appraisal well in the “Glafcos” gas find in block 10 which is estimated to carry a reservoir between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet.

However, Pilides said that “the scene has changed” in the energy field, noting that the EU Green Deal, as well as the fit for 55 package, “places particular pressure so our targets have become more auspicious.”

“This is something we need to take into account in our plans for reducing CO2 to 50 per cent from 40 per cent,” she added noting that the government is following a holistic approach utilising the funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Addressing the symposium, President of the House of Representatives, Annita Demetriou said that Cyprus is key to the region’s energy map, noting that the island is called on to play a catalytic role in the energy development of the region due to its geographic position.

Demetriou also highlighted the importance of cooperation initiatives, noting that cooperation agreements with Greece, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon should be implemented.

“Regional cooperation in the energy field based on the law of the sea and the principles of good neighbourliness constitute a very important factor in tackling instability and conflicts which affect our region traditionally and especially in the last years,” she stressed.

The House President also stressed that “Turkish goals to hamper Cyprus’ strategic cooperation in energy by disputing the Republic’s sovereignty within its EEZ require more strong representations towards the international community so that the latter would firmly respond to prevent (Turkish) threats and illegal actions in the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial waters, the EEZ and continental shelf.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Ankara which asserts that Cyprus has no EEZ has repeatedly illegally blocked vessels from carrying out exploration activities in licensed blocks of its EEZ.

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