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More US companies will join Cyprus gas exploitation, says Ambassador

September 5, 2019 at 4:19pm
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More US energy companies will operate in Cyprus to help extract rich natural gas resources, joining ExxonMobil and Noble Energy.

This is what US Ambassador Judith Garber told a business dinner in Nicosia on Wednesday.

“We are proud that two American companies – ExxonMobil and Noble Energy – are participating in this game-changing development…I firmly believe other U.S. companies in the energy sector will join them, as Cyprus transitions from discovery of energy resources to the hard task of bringing those resources to market,” she also said.

She then stressed that the discovery of hydrocarbons in the EEZ of Cyprus offers “great promise and responsibility”.

“We hope, such resources promote prosperity in the entire Eastern Mediterranean region and help to diversify Europe’s energy supply,” she added.

Moreover, she stressed the importance of maintaining an environment that attracts investment, noting that “investors from America and elsewhere always look for predictable, stable environments, with assurances that agreements and contracts will be honoured, backed by secure financial institutions to manage income and expenses.”

Garber also said that US national security, Cyprus’ national security and the security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region are inextricably linked.

“We also believe these resources should be equitably shared between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.”

“We are concerned about the unlawful activities of the (Turkish) drillship Yavuz, which is operating within the territorial sea of the Republic of Cyprus,” she also said.

“This provocative and unlawful step raises tensions in the region. We are confident that these resources can contribute to the overall economic well-being of Cyprus and thus be a positive force for achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem,” she added.

The Ambassador said the trilateral initiatives among Cyprus and Greece and their regional partners such as Israel, Egypt, and Jordan were important and encouraging, build resilience and act as a multiplier to attract investment to the region.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the trilateral gathering in March in Jerusalem with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and then Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“We will continue to look for opportunities to join such meetings to lend our support as they advance security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” the Ambassador said.

US energy giant ExxonMobil discovered the largest natural gas reserve off the coast of Cyprus in February.

The “world-class discovery” is one of the largest finds worldwide in recent years with an estimated five to eight trillion cubic feet (141.5 to 226.5 cubic metres) of natural gas.

ExxonMobil, along with Qatar Petroleum, is expected to conduct more test drills over the next 24 months.

Texas-based Noble Energy in 2011 made the first discovery off Cyprus in the Aphrodite block estimated to contain around 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas but it has yet to be extracted. (CNA)