The Turkish Cypriot side will take action along with Turkey against the Cyprus government over a confirmatory drilling set to take place in the ‘Aphrodite’ gas field block 12, as they claim it lies within their ‘exclusive economic zone’, reports from the north said on Thursday.

According to a report in Halkin Sesi, the ‘foreign ministry’ in the north said that Greek Cypriot side continues to insist on “unilateral actions” in the Eastern Mediterranean and escalate the tension.

“While the Greek Cypriot administration continues its persistent unilateral activities, we will continue to take all measures to protect our legitimate rights and interests together with Turkey and take all steps that can be taken,” the statement said, reiterating the position that the Turkish Cypriot people, as co-owners of Cyprus, have equal rights to all resources on and around the island.

The statement also claims that the ‘TRNC’ has said at every opportunity it can that it prefers to resolve the matter through dialogue and cooperation and recalls the comprehensive proposals submitted to the Greek Cypriot side in 2011, 2012, 2019 and July 1, 2022.

On Wednesday, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said that Chevron will shortly begin drilling in the Aphrodite field to confirm further deposit quantities.

Speaking on CyBC, the minister said that for this purpose a floating drilling rig had already been dispatched to Cyprus’ EEZ.

Responding to a comment about the recent flurry of information surrounding the island’s energy prospects, the minister gave an overview of achievements to date, saying progress had been achieved, with confirmation secured for units A1 and A2 and the latest now expected in A3.

Italy’s largest oil and gas company Eni has completed quantity confirmation drilling in Zeus and Kronos and is expected to drill in Calypso by end of year or early 2024, Papanastasiou said.

Chevron is seeking a drilling ship to explore for natural gas off Cyprus, Egypt and Israel as the U.S. energy major looks to meet growing demand in the region and Europe, two sources told Reuters.

Chevron, which operates in the three eastern Mediterranean countries, issued a lease tender on Monday seeking a drilling vessel in 2024 for a year with an option to extend for several years, the sources said.

A Chevron spokesperson declined to comment on the tender, but said the company “remains committed to working together with the governments of Egypt, Israel and Cyprus and our partners in the region to support the growth of the East Mediterranean energy sector.

“The Eastern Mediterranean has abundant energy resources and the potential to enhance energy security regionally and internationally.”

Energy companies have sought to develop new resources to meet growing demand from Europe since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022 prompted a move away from Russian energy.

Chevron wants to expedite the development of the Aphrodite gas field to the south-east of Cyprus which is estimated to contain about 4.5 trillion cubic metres (tcf) of gas.

It also operates the giant Leviathan field offshore Israel which produces 12 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year that are supplied to Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Chevron and its Leviathan partners NewMed Energy and Ratio Energies plan to nearly double the field’s production to 21 to 24 bcm by 2027.

They are also considering the construction of a floating liquefied natural gas facility to allow exports of the fuel to international markets, including Europe.

In Egypt, Chevron and its partner Eni earlier this year announced they had made a gas discovery in the Nargis offshore concession which they want to explore further, the sources said.

The San Ramon, California-based company became a major gas producer in the East Med basin in 2020 with the $5 billion acquisition of Noble Energy.

Sources: – By Nikolaos Prakas
Reuters – By Ron Bousso; editing by Jason Neely