Lebanese Experts Set for Cyprus Visit To Discuss Oil
Lebanon is to send a team of experts to Cyprus to discuss problems resulting from maritime border agreements affecting offshore oil-and-gas exploration rights between Cyprus and its neighbors Israel and Lebanon, says a report by the Daily Star.
Lebanon, still technically at war with Israel, has criticised the agreements, saying that Israel is enroaching on its maritime territory in the Eastern Mediterranean. So far, it has failed to fully get behind an agreement negotiated with Cyprus. The agreement has yet to clear the country's legislature.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and FM Erato Kozakou-Markoullis met in New York last week to discuss the problems, according to Lebanon's national news agency.
Cyprus has already started drilling for offshore gas with US company Noble Energy and Israeli company DELEK. Results from initial exploration are expected in two to three months, said Energy services chief Solon Kassinis.
The issue is complicated by Turkey, which is seeking to lay claim to natural resources in the region by using its influence in Egypt, Lebanon and north Cyprus. Last week, Turkey signed an agreeement with the Turkish-Cypriot community to delimit maritime borders with north Cyprus. The deal was condemned as unlawful by the government.
Turkish research vessel K. Piri Reis is nonetheless conducting research in the waters between north Cyprus and Turkey in search for offshore gas and oil reserves.