Christofias to continue gas search

Christofias to continue gas search

Christofias to continue gas search

Cyprus’ president Christofias waves as he flies to an offshore gas and oil rig.AP photo

Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said yesterday that the offshore hydrocarbon search will carry on despite strong opposition from Turkey. He made the vow after touring Noble’s “Homer Ferrington” platform for the first time since the exploratory drilling which has triggered a hostile reaction from Ankara.

The Texas firm at the end of September began exploratory drilling for gas off divided Cyprus’s south coast, ignoring warnings that Turkey would retaliate by launching its own explorations in the area.

Christofias stressed “the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus which we are determined to exercise.” “Secondly, I’m here to get a personal picture of this entire effort because there is a lot of very serious work to do,” added the president.

Results from Noble’s test drilling are expected to be ready in mid-December. Turkey has repeatedly called on Greek Cyprus to postpone its gas exploration, saying the Greek Cypriot side has no right to do so while the island remains split, arguing it excludes the Turkish Cyprus. In retaliation, it has sent a ship of its own to carry out exploration, drawing protests from Greek Cyprus. And Ankara is preparing to sign a gas and oil exploration deal with Shell that could include the region off Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu departed from Nicosia for Brussels yesterday to hold talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Eroğlu is expected to return to Turkish Cyprus tomorrow.

Compiled from AFP and AA stories by the Daily News staff.