Nicosia has granted approval to the energy companies ENI and Total to explore block seven of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and approved nine other drilling operations within the EEZ over the next two years.
The approval was finalized in a cabinet meeting on Monday following recent indications by Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis that an agreement was in the works.
Total and ENI had applied for an exploration licence in block seven last November. Their joint drilling projects include block three of Cyprus' EEZ where in February 2018 Turkish warships prevented an ENI drillship from carrying out a drill.
Ankara has repeatedly warned Cyprus against exploring for hydrocarbons in its own EEZ, claiming that the Turkish Cypriots should be considered.