U.S. company Noble Energy will start drilling at its natural gas field off the coast of Cyprus within days, the company said on Monday.
The field is in waters that are the focus of an escalating dispute between Greek Cyprus and Turkey over offshore gas resources.
"We are aware of the situation in the Mediterranean. We have a rig on location at the Cyprus A field and our plans are to proceed with drilling that well. Drilling is expected to begin within days, certainly within a week, depending on how long it takes to prepare the rig," David Larson, vice president, investor relations at Noble Energy in Houston, told Reuters.
Turkey could give naval escorts to Turkish exploration vessels off Cyprus unless the Greek Cypriot government halts plans for Noble Energy to start drilling for natural gas at its Greek Cyprus A gas field this month.
The Greek Cyprus A gas field, also known as Aphrodite, contains an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves, according to Greek Cypriot energy officials.
Greek Cyprus-Israel agreement
The vast majority of the gas reserves in question are in waters claimed by Israel and the Greek Cyprus.
In 2010, the Greek Cypriot and Israeli governments signed an "agreement on the delimitations of the exclusive economic zone" between the two countries, which sets the maritime borders and the respective rights to explore natural resources within them by a median line.
The two countries and their main corporate partners, Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group , are in well advanced consultations to jointly access energy reserves.
Noble Energy says that the eastern Mediterranean gas finds have been the world's biggest deepwater gas discoveries in the last decade, with a total of at least 25 tcf of gross mean resources.
Based on recent exploration, Noble Energy achieved "four consecutive successes based on geologic model and 3D interpretation," the company said in a presentation in September.
The four sites are Israeli claimed Dalit, Tamar, and Leviathan, as well as Cyprus A, claimed by Greek Cyprus.
Turkey says that any Cypriot natural resources have to be shared by the whole island, and Ankara rejects any delimination of maritime waters, saying it will itself to declare a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, which would reach far into the waters deliminated by Greek Cyprus and Israel, and drill for gas there itself.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2011, 11:28