Energy: Greece, Cyprus part of a 'strategic relationship'

Greek President Papoulias talks to his Israeli counterpart Peres

08 August, 12:43

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, AUGUST 8 - Cyprus is an integral part of a new strategic relationship in the Eastern Mediterranean, President of Greece Karolos Papoulias has said yesterday as reported by CNA. "The discovery of significant subsea natural gas reserves and the possibility of transporting Israeli and Cypriot natural gas to Europe via Greece change the geo-economic and also the geopolitical framework of the region," Papoulias said in his toast on Monday evening an official dinner in honour of his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres. In other words, he explained, "there is a convergence of interests in the Eastern Mediterranean on which we can build a strategic relationship." He stressed that "The Republic of Cyprus, which assumed on July 1 the Presidency of the Council of the EU, is an integral part of this strategic relationship". The two men spoke of cooperation between Greece and Israel in different areas. Cyprus government 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. The first licensing round, concluded in 2007, resulted in granting concessions to Houston-based "Noble Energy" for exploratory drilling in Cyprus' EEZ block 12. Noble started drilling on September 2011 and the initial data that emerged from the exploratory drilling and the evaluation checks carried out, indicate the existence of a natural gas reservoir ranging from 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a gross mean of 7 tcf. The government approved on November 23, 2011 the launch of a second licensing round for the remaining 12 offshore blocks, a decision published at the EU Official Journal on February 11, 2012. Fifteen bids from five companies and 10 from joint ventures were submitted on May 11 for the second licensing round concerning the Republic of Cyprus' offshore hydrocarbon reserves. Bids were submitted for 9 of the 12 offshore blocks, comprising the Cypriot EEZ.