How much petroleum is there around Cyprus?

Cyprus has already explored for petroleum. University experts began looking back in the 1970s but the results were never announced. However, it is believed that potentially interesting deposits were found in two areas – south of Cyprus, where there is a huge deposit named «Eratosthenes,» and in the Kylikeia basin, stretching from the shores of northern Cyprus to the coast of Asia Minor. In the area around Eratosthenes, seismic investigations have been conducted by an American-owned Norwegian firm, which is to sell the results of its findings to companies that will undertake the drilling. The area of interest has been divided into 14 blocks. The main disadvantage of the exploration is the great depths of the sea, making drilling very expensive (about $20-50 million for each drill at such depths). Viable deposits Nevertheless there is a very strong likelihood that economically viable petroleum deposits will be found there. At a presentation in London last November, more than 40 firms showed an interest. The Cypriot Republic has contracted the French petroleum exploration firm Beicip, which Greece used for exploration in the 1970s, the results of which were not announced. The firm knows the region well and in a report claimed that the Aegean could be of particular interest. Among the major firms that have shown an interest in the region south of Cyprus is Shell, which has been granted a concession by Egypt. It is generally believed that the establishment of an Exclusive Economic Zone between Egypt, Cyprus and Lebanon is very important and skillfully designed. It avoids the region that could potentially include Kastellorizo and thereby lead to further claims by Turkey. Turkey’s claims It seems that it will be years before anyone finds out what is in the eastern Mediterranean around Cyprus. Turkey, however, is impatient to freeze the issue and is raising claims as a preventive measure. At the same time, it wants to send a political message to Cyprus that although it is a full member of the European Union, it cannot make decisions on matters concerning it without Ankara’s approval. Nicosia has not yet responded to Turkey’s rhetoric, and the question now is how far Turkey will go, and how much patience Cyprus will be capable of.

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