Cyprus Energy Minister Jeorjos Lakkotrypis said on Wednesday that the Mediterranean island could earn more than 9 billion dollars over 18 years from the export of gas extracted from the submarine field of Aphrodite, AP said.
He stressed that the renegotiated contract with a consortium including Shell, Noble Energy from Texas and the Israeli company Delek opened the way to the exploitation of this deposit, located south of the Cyprus coast.
He noted that the financial terms were determined on the basis of the most optimistic scenario, assuming that in 2022 a barrel of oil would cost 70 dollars. AP writes that ratification of the contract by the Cypriot government is expected as soon as the development plan for the deposit is agreed.
According to Lakkotrypis, production should start in 2024 or 2025. The raw material is to be sent via an offshore gas pipeline to Egypt and from there to European markets.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to a coup inspired by Greece, which was to lead to the incorporation of the island into Greece. On the north-eastern part of the island they occupied, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was later proclaimed. The efforts made over many years to put an end to the conflict have failed.
EU leaders last month expressed their solidarity with Cyprus, in whose waters, in the exclusive economic zone, Turkey started drilling the seabed in search of hydrocarbons. This is about drilling in an area for which claims are being made by both the government of Cyprus, which is recognised by the international community, and the Northern Cyprus authorities, which are recognised only by Turkey.
The head of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the US Department of State also expressed their opposition to the drilling plans.