Noble Energy says will ignore Turkish threats on Cyprus

Cyprus is stuck between a rock and a hard place in the Turkish-Israeli dispute, the 'Cyprus Mail' reported

By ADI BEN-ISRAEL/GLOBES
September 9, 2011 07:39
1 minute read.
Tamar offshore gas field.

tamar offshore gas field_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Noble Energy Inc. says it will push ahead with its Cypriot offshore exploratory well at Block 12 despite warnings from Turkey not to do so.

Block 12 adjoins Israel’s Leviathan field.

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Cyprus is stuck between a rock and a hard place in the Turkish-Israeli dispute, the Cyprus Mail reported: If President Demetris Christofias chooses to push ahead with drilling, he is essentially calling Turkey’s bluff; failure to do so would effectively acknowledge Turkey’s dominion over the island.

The newspaper said the heightened tension between Israel and Turkey comes on the back of repeated warnings by Turkish officials against Cyprus drilling in its exclusive economic zone.

While some commentators believe the feud with Israel may be used as a pretext to build up naval patrols in the waters between Israel and Cyprus, at a time when both latter countries are discussing collaboration on the extraction and distribution of hydrocarbon deposits in their respective marine zones, the Cyprus Mail said current diplomatic thinking in the region is that Turkey has more important issues to contend with than creating serious problems for the island.

Energy Service head Solon Kassinis told the Cyprus Mail he expects drilling to start before October 1. Noble Energy said it would use the Homer Ferrington rig currently drilling in the Noa field offshore from Ashkelon in Israel’s exclusive economic zone.

“I expected Turkey to bark,” Kassinis said, “but I don’t think they will do anything because what we’ve done is based on international law, and if they want to be considered a country that respects international law, when it has a network of [oil and gas] pipelines charging transit fees, how can it?” Any fears from Noble Energy have been assuaged by the US Embassy in Nicosia, which has told the company to go ahead and expedite the exploration process, he said.

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