Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cyprus, Israel sign deal demarcating sea borders

From The Associated Press, Dec 17, 2010, MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS:

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus and Israel signed an accord Friday demarcating their maritime borders to facilitate a search for mineral deposits in the east Mediterranean where huge natural gas reserves have been discovered.

...Cyprus has licensed U.S. firm Noble Energy to explore an 800,000-acre area bordering Israeli waters where massive gas fields have been found under the seabed.

Two fields, Tamar and Dalit, discovered last year, are due to start producing in 2012, and experts say their estimated combined reserves of 5.5 trillion cubic feet (160 billion cubic meters) of natural gas can cover Israel's energy needs for the next two decades.

Noble Energy is also part of a consortium developing the fields and predicted in June that Israel will also have enough gas to export to Europe and Asia from a third field — Leviathan, thought to hold up to 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic meters) of gas.

Cyprus Energy Service Director Solon Kassinis told The Associated Press in an e-mail that there are currently no estimates on gas reserves inside the Cypriot zone because drilling has yet to begin.

Noble has not said when drilling would start inside its Cypriot block.

...Lebanese lawmakers have said that some of Israel's recently discovered gas fields stretch into Lebanese territorial waters. Israel has denied the charge.

Hezbollah has threatened to use force to protect Lebanon's natural wealth.

Meanwhile, Turkey is mulling starting oil and gas exploration off Cyprus' northern coast...
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