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FM: Incident in Cyprus EEZ is unacceptable

03 February, 2014

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has described as unacceptable the incident which occurred in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) when a Turkish military vessel harassed the Norwegian seismic ship Princess, which was conducting seismic survey in the Cypriot EEZ.

Kasoulides said that the incident took place in the northern areas of the two blocks, 10 and 11, held by French TOTAL, in Cyprus’ EEZ.

“There was an incident, which was monitored throughout by the Cyprus authorities and we were in constant communication with TOTAL’s vessel. It was not an harassment, it was rather a radio communication during which the Turkish military vessel was calling the TOTAL vessel to abandon its position,” the Minister explained.

He recalled that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry had expressed the position that the two sides in Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides, are close to reach an agreement on the context of the joint communiqué that will pave the way for the resumption of the Cyprus talks.

Kasoulides said that “if this is the case, then they need to think seriously whether - under such circumstances - the climate is suitable for the resumption of the Cyprus talks” adding that the international community should discuss the issue with Ankara.
"This is unacceptable," he stressed, pointing out that the government of Cyprus will make representations to the UN and the countries involved, such as France and Norway.

The Turkish armed forces issued an announcement according to which the ship, which conducted research east of Cyprus, was ordered by the Turkish frigate “Giresun” to steer away from what Ankara describes as “Turkish waters.”

The incident happened on Saturday. The Turkish frigate was in the area in the framework of Mediterranean Shield Operation.

Total E&P Cyprus Ltd has been granted a license by the Agriculture Minister for seismic exploration for oil and gas in block 10 and in parts of blocks 6, 7 and 11 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, an official press release said on Friday.

The company will carry out a two-dimensional seismic survey using a specific type of vessels to locate hydrocarbons in the specific blocks, the press release added.

The license is valid for three months, from the 1st of February until the 1st of May, and can be renewed by the Minister.

Preliminary results of a Noble Energy appraisal well for natural gas in Block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone estimate the hydrocarbon reserve between 3.6tcf and 6tcf with a gross mean resource of 5tcf. Noble Energy operates Block 12 with a 70 percent working interest. Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership each own 15 percent.