Greek Cyprus to expand energy search

Greek Cyprus to expand energy search

NICOSIA - Agence-France Presse

Cyprus announced Wednesday that it is forging ahead with a second round of licensing to exploit oil and gas deposits off its shores despite the strong objections of Turkey.

“The Commerce Minister [Praxaoula Antoniadou] has been authorised to take all the necessary steps to move ahead with official publication of the notice of the second round of licensing in respect of all research blocks in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus,” government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou told reporters.

He said the launch of the tendering process would take about six weeks to prepare, with interested candidates then given three months to express an interest in exploiting the remaining 11 blocks inside the island’s delineated economic zone (EEZ).

After evaluation, a shortlist of candidates for exploration permits will be drawn up and submitted to the cabinet to decide who gets the final approval.

“With today’s decision, the [Cyprus] government stresses, once again, its determination to exercise, always in accordance with international law, its sovereign rights in the EEZ of the Cyprus Republic,” Stefanou said.

A defiant Cyprus President Demetris Christofias had said on Monday that the island’s offshore oil and gas search would carry on regardless of the hostile reaction from Ankara