A delegation from Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum signed an agreement with the Greek Cypriot administration on Wednesday to explore hydrocarbon in Block 10, in southern Cyprus, international media reported.
The Greek Cypriot administrations' energy, foreign affairs, finance and labor ministers attended the signature ceremony.
The agreement was signed while the UN-mediated discussions were interrupted between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration. The United Nations announced Tuesday that the Cyprus talks will resume next week, on April 11 after a two-month hiatus.
In February 2016, the government of the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally decided to launch a licensing round for some some blocks on the offshore island.
In total 12 exploration wells will be drilled in the blocks 6, 8, and 10, the Energy Minister of the Greek Cypriot administration, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said at the ceremony.
A consortium between ENI and Total won the licensing for block 6, ENI alone was awarded block 8, while the ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum consortium was awarded block 10.
- Cyprus issue and unilateral bids
The status of the Cyprus island remains unresolved in spite of a series of UN-mediated discussions between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration.
In February, the Greek Cypriot assembly's decision to introduce a school commemoration of the 1950 referendum on the unification with Greece saw the discussions stall.
The Cyprus Island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after an Enosis-inspired 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish population, and the subsequent intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Despite the disputed status, the Greek Cypriot administration continued to unilaterally open new tenders for hydrocarbon explorations without any collaboration with the Turkish Cypriots.
By Muhsin Baris Tiryakioglu