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Egyptian-Cypriot gas exploration likely to raise tension with Israel

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Foreign ministers of Egypt and Cyprus have said the prospect of cooperating to exploit offshore hydrocarbons reservoirs is vast. However a “dispute between Egypt and Israel might ensue”, petroleum agreements expert and member of the Association for International Petroleum Negotiators at Zaki Hashem& Partners, EssamTaha, told Daily News Egypt.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed KamalAmr, said during his visit to Nicosia Friday that there is an enormous potential to promote economic cooperation between Egypt and Cyprus.

“The Egyptian-Cypriot talks focused on means to develop and promote bilateral relations,” spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister plenipotentiary Amr Roushdy stated.

Foreign minister of Cyprus, Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, said the prospect of cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector is enormous, Cyprus Mail reported, adding that Cyprus and Egypt will start working on an unitisation agreement, to allow both states to operate jointly in exploration and development of hydrocarbon reservoirs.

There is a potential for a maritime dispute between Egypt and Israel as a result for a prospected unitisation agreement between Egypt and Cyprus, Taha said.

Taha explained that there is a legal predicament stemming from the absence of maritime delineation agreement between Egypt and Israel.

Cyprus has signed delineation agreement with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon. Egypt was the first country to sign a delineation agreement with Cyprus to demarcate its maritime borders in 2003, said Marcoullis.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that both the Egyptian and the Cypriot governments agreed to complete the contractual framework on joint exploitation according to the agreement signed between them in 2006.

The Egyptian and Cypriot governments haver been working on strengthening cooperation in the field of oil and gas exploration. Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Osama Kamal visited Cyprus mid-October. Egyptian Press reported that the two countries would swap delegations to boost energy cooperative efforts.


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