Government follows a targeted policy on natural gas issue Print

Nicosia, Jan. 15 2012 (CNA)

Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that the Government is following a targeted policy on the natural gas issue. When asked by reporters on Sunday about the second gas licencing round, Stephanou said that the Government, despite the provocations and threats on behalf of Turkey, has successfully promoted the issue and that is''because of the very specific, targeted policy followed by the Government as well as good planning and careful movements being made.'' He pointed out that this policy will be continued with regard to the second gas licencing round based on the laws and regulations of both Cyprus and the EU.''

Stephanou also said that the related documents have been sent to the EU to be translated for publication in the EU Official Journal and the next step will be finalising the contract documents. A second licensing round will be officially launched on completion of the translations and a period of at least three months will be given to the companies to express interest and submit their proposals.The government will continue cooperating with experts who have huge experience on natural gas issue without saying too much.

Cyprus President Demetris Chistofias announced on December 28, 2011, that exploratory drilling carried out by Huston-based Noble Energy in block 12 of the island's Exclusive Economic Zone revealed a gross mean average of 7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas, describing the discovery as ''a historic development.'' Cyprus granted in October 2008 the exploration license for block 12 to US Noble, which began exploratory drilling on September 18 Turkey whose troops occupy Cyprus' northern part since they invaded in 1974 does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf. The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey's moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling. Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it. UN-backed talks for a settlement to the Cyprus problem began on September 2008.