Cyprus, Syria and Egypt to decide on probing gas and oil reserves

Oct 16, 2001 02:00 AM

Cyprus expects to complete discussions with Syria and Egypt on probing natural gas reserves and exploiting lucrative oil deposits off the East Mediterranean island by the end of the year, said Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis. "We've agreed the three ministers will meet in Cairo on the issue of natural gas and a technical committee will accompany me to work on delineating our economic exclusion zones," said Rolandis.
"We've agreed with Egypt's oil minister the three ministers meet before the end of the year and we expect completion by then," he said after a meeting with Egyptian ambassador to Cyprus Omar Metwally who invited him for an official visit to meet Egypt's Economy Minister Boutros Ghali next March. "The meeting in Cairo is scheduled for either November or December, unless events in the region lead to a postponement," he added.

The government's efforts for a joint oil exploration venture with its neighbours is on track and Lebanon is now being charmed to put its weight behind a possible energy bonanza, said Rolandis. Rolandis said Lebanon was now being charmed to put its weight behind a possible energy bonanza and added that Lebanese Petroleum Minister would be invited to joint the talks.
Egypt's Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy visited Nicosia last month and agreed to cooperate with Cyprus and Syria in efforts to supply natural gas via a pipeline and tap oil deposits in the eastern Mediterranean. A joint technical committee will decide in the next few months on the best way to mark out a continental shelf and delineate the exclusive economic zones of Cyprus and Egypt. There is a similar agreement with Syria.

Building a gas pipeline to the island's southern coast from Syria is expected to cost in the region of $ 250 mm and take at least four years. According to Egyptian experts there are oil deposits situated 2 km (6,500 feet) beneath the sea between Egypt and Cyprus.
Demarcating an economic exclusion zone -- to keep neighbouring countries from encroaching on lucrative resources -- also involves Israel. The Cyprus government is unwilling to disclose the extent of oil and gas deposits located between neighbours Israel, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.

Source: AFP
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