The United States support Cyprus’ sovereign rights to extract and exploit its natural wealth in its Exclusive Economic Zone, Minister of Energy Giorgos Lakkotrypis has said.
Lakkotrypis was invited to comment on an interview by US Deputy Assistant Secretary Amos Hochstein, one of the State Department’s senior officials responsible for energy, who said in an interview with the daily “Phileleftheros” that the Republic of Cyprus has the right to develop its resources located in its offshore EEZ.
“There is no doubt that Cyprus offers excellent advantages to become an energy hub and a bridge between the countries of the region,” Lakkotrypis said, adding the US involvement was evident during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden and their continued involvement as manifested in Mr Hochstein’s interview.
Lakkotrypis noted that “we have very good cooperation with the US diplomacy as well with the EU and the neighbouring countries. We would like to promote Cyprus as an energy hub in the region.”
Responding to a question whether the US exerts the necessary pressure on Turkey, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and disputes its right to explore and exploit its offshore natural wealth, Lakkotrypis referred to Hochstein’s remarks.
The US, Lakkotrypis added, “support Cyprus’ sovereign rights to explore and exploit its natural wealth in its EEZ and that the country should be left to make its choices in the more commercially and strategically prosperous manner.”
Cyprus has granted exploration concessions over six of its 13 offshore blocks. Taxas-based Noble Energy discovered a gross mean natural reserve of 5 trln cubic feet and it is expected to conduct an additional exploratory drill.
ENI/KOGAS consortium is scheduled to begin exploration activity in blocks 2, 3 and 9 by the end of summer, whereas French Total will begin explorations in blocks 10 and 11 in the second half of 2015.
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