Cyprus to develop Mediterranean reserves amid Turkey warnings

22 November 2012

Cyprus will further develop potential oil and gas reserves in the east Mediterranean Sea, despite growing tensions with neighbouring country Turkey.

Cyprus's declaration comes in the wake of Turkey's warnings to oil multinationals that they should refrain from participating in the nation's oil and natural gas projects.

Cyprus plans to initiate talks with oil firms including Italy's ENI, South Korea's Kogas, France's Total and Russia's Novatek, for the potential development of natural gas fields in its south portion.

Cyprus has accused Turkey of escalating the tensions over the potential oil and gas bonanza. Speaking to Reuters, Cyprus's foreign ministry said: "Turkey is once again showing its true face.

"It is a record burdened with violations of international law as regards its international and national mode of behaviour. The Republic of Cyprus will continue in its hydrocarbons policy decisively and without any distraction."

In 2011, Cyprus discovered a mean seven trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, one of the largest gas finds of the past decade, in its southern sea area bordering with Israel. The country now plans to develop these gas reserves in order to feed its economy, after being forced to seek an international bailout in June.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Turkey only recognises the breakaway state in the north and not the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, which now holds the rotating EU presidency.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement: "Those companies cooperating with GCA [Greek Cypriot Administration] will not be allowed to take part in new energy projects in Turkey."

Turkey believes the gas project ignores the equal rights that Turkish Cypriots have over natural resources.

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