While intense debates regarding Russian natural gas are ongoing between the European Union and the U.S., fresh news came from Cyprus. Greek Cyprus announced that American Energy Company ExxonMobil has found the third largest natural gas reserve in the Eastern Mediterranean of the last two years.
The announcement came from Cypriot Greek Energy Minister Yorgos Lakkotripis and ExxonMobil co-President Tristan Aspray, who coordinated the probe.
The energy minister of Greek Cyprus, which is trying to be an alternative energy source for Europe, said it is estimated that a natural gas reserve of 141 billion to 226 billion square meters has been found, and he hopes that this find will pave the way for more probes around Cyprus. Aspray underlined that together with ExxonMobil and their partner Qatar Petroleum it is possible to find more reserves. The natural gas reserve discovered in the 10th parcel is the third natural gas reserve discovered around Cyprus.
In addition to the American company ExxonMobil, Italian Eni and French Total firms and Turkey are also performing probing drills.
In 2011, Texas-based Noble Energy had discovered a natural gas reserve worth 127 billion square meters. This latest discovery is the greatest that has been found to date in Cyprus. However, certain circles that are disgruntled by Europe's dependency on Russian natural gas should not act hastily and garner false hope. Because the natural gas that will pass from the Eastern Mediterranean cannot possibly reach Europe from a route other than Turkey. No matter how much Greek Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Egypt try to be an alternative to Turkey, the reality is clear; there is no alternative to Turkey.
First, here's a reminder: the areas that have natural gas reserves are not only within the jurisdiction of Greek Cyprus. As it is known not only Greek Cypriots live in Cyprus. In every situation where Greek Cypriots demand rights, Turkish Cypriots also have rights and a right to say something. In addition, Turkey, which has the longest coast around the Eastern Mediterranean, has claim and rights over petrol and natural gas sites within the Mediterranean, at least as much as Greek Cyprus. Greek Cyprus has enacted licenses for 13 parcels in 2007 that it declared exclusive single-sided economic zones. Eight of these parcels drew the attention of energy companies. Rightfully, Turkey has warned these companies. Because of this situation, the Turkish Naval Forces and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Coast Guard Command are keeping guard over the zone with many warships. In short, this area is not without claim. Greek Cyprus is seeing faulty dreams. By drawing Israel and Egypt to its side against Turkey, it is actually making this problem much more complicated and thus, harming its own interests.
Per Greek Cyprus's request, in the Eastern Mediterranean, at the 2nd, 3rd and 9th parcels Italian ENI and South Korean Kogas, at 6th and 11th parcels ENI and the French Total, in 8th Parcel ENI, in the 10th parcel ExxonMobil and in 13th parcel Noble energy are probing for natural gas. Since the 1st, 4th, 6th and 7th parcels are within its own continental shelf, Turkey is very careful about this matter. And it has a duty to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots on searches in zones outside its own continental shelf. In short, if Greek Cyprus stops pursuing faulty dreams with no future, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Turkey and all other parties will gain the opportunity to become winners.
Transfer of natural gas that will be drilled in the zone to Europe from a different route in the Mediterranean will not only be expensive, it will also be very difficult due to the depth of Mediterranean. Against this, Turkey, which is already supplying North Cyprus with water via pipelines through the Mediterranean, is the only logical solution due to its close proximity. In short, both for the transfer of natural gas and for the solution of natural gas reserves problem, cooperation with Turkey and Turkish Cypriots is the only way. Turkey is ready for this. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has spoken very clearly regarding this matter in the last months.
In the Eastern Mediterranean, those who are going to pursue paths that are going to be against the interests of Cypriot Turks and Turkey could be sure that they will face Turkey. And as for the EU, rather than staying on the wrong side, it would be more beneficial for the interests of Europe, if they are to support dialogue and solutions.
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