Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) says that it will push ahead with its Cypriot offshore exploratory well at Block 12, in spite of warnings from Turkey not to do so. Block 12 adjoins Israel's Leviathan field.
The "Cyprus Mail" says Cyprus is stuck between a rock and a hard place in the Turkish-Israeli dispute. If President Demetris Christofias chooses to push ahead with drilling, he is essentially calling Turkey’s bluff. Failure to do so effectively acknowledges Turkey’s dominion over the island.
"Cyprus Mail" says that 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 seas 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 paper says that current diplomatic thinking in the region is that Turkey has more important issues to contend with than create serious problems for the island.
Energy Service head Solon Kassinis told the "Cyprus Mail" that he expects drilling to start before October 1. Noble Energy will use the Homer Ferrington rig currently drilling in the Noa field offshore from Ashkelon in Israel’s exclusive economic zone.
Kassinis said, “I expected Turkey to bark 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) pipe lines, charging transit fees, how can it?"
Kassinis added that 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.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 8, 2011
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