US Geological Survey Estimates 1.7 Bln Barrels Oil in Levant Basin - Minister
The US Geological Survey has estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 Trillion cubic feet (Tfc) of recoverable natural gas in the Levant Basin, said Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoullis in a speech at the London School of Economics.
According to the survey, there is an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of recoverable oil, 223 Tcf of recoverable gas and six billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Nile Delta Basin, she said.
Cyprus' recent discovery of 7-9 Tcf of natural gas in one of its offshore plots means that the island has approximately 100 billion euros worth of natural gas from a single plot and can satisfy its electricity production needs for 210 years, said the minister.
Building an energy service industry in Cyprus and the region would create jobs on a long-term basis and have a positive and stabilizing development, she said.
"We expect and certainly hope that the momentum that will be created by the sort of investment in infrastructure and financial services for the servicing of the energy industry, will serve as a catalyst toward greater cooperation among neighbors," said Markoullis.
The Eastern Mediterranean is a "crowded and most tormented place" with sensitive balances on the political level, she said.
"Already we have indications that it will be possible to move towards joint exploitation by neighboring countries of the area, along with the launching of joint projects, particularly in areas where the natural gas or petroleum fields fall across the line separating Exclusive Economic Zones, as in the case of Israel and Cyprus, according to Marcoullis. There are ongoing negotiations with Israel, Egypt and Lebanon, she said.
Cyprus is at a historical juncture and will momentous decisions and bold steps forward will be needed to reshape its strategic importance, said Marcoulis.
"Cyprus will have to engage all its neighbors and its friends, hopefully also at some point in the future, once the island is reunited and occupation is terminated, its northern neighbor Turkey, which still persists in refusing to have contacts with the Republic of Cyprus," she said.
She is greatly disappointed that Turkey is continuing its zero-sum analysis and dismayed to witness the hostile and aggressive face of Turkey when Cyprus started drilling for offshore hydrocarbons, said Marcoullis.
"Then came the blatant threats of violence and provocations which involved Turkish warships and aircraft, air and naval exercises in the sea south of Cyprus and illegal seismic surveying and seabed mapping carried out by ships on behalf of Turkey inside our Exclusive Economic Zone, in blatant violation of Cypriot sovereign rights," said Marcoulis.
She is hopeful that the Turkish leadership will put aside the threats and adopt a more mild and statesmanlike tone, she said.
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