Greek Cyprus Fearful Over Offshore Gas Well Drilling

cyprus gasMap showing disputed Cyprus underwater gas fields, as well as those being contested by Israel and Lebanon

Undersea drilling for natural gas by the Greek Cypriot government now appears to be more problematic than just their fears of disturbing the undersea environment or undersea territorial claims by regional countries like Israel and Lebanon. Cypriot’s “neighbor,” the Turkish-occupied and controlled Northern Cyprus, is now giving more than just “veiled threats” according to two regional news sources, Cyprus News Report, and Turkey’s Hurriyet News Company. Will the next Middle East war be over water or natural gas?

Noble Energy drilling platform

Southern Cyprus had originally entered into drilling agreements with the American offshore drilling company Noble Energy Inc, the same company that is now partnering with Delek Energy, headed by Israeli Billionaire tycoon Yitshak Tshuva.

Tshuva’s Yam Tethys Gas Company was one of the first regional players to team up with Noble Energy to drill offshore natural gas wells in the eastern Mediterranean in projects that have been ongoing since 2009. They’ve struck it big: Tshuva’s company and Noble Energy won out in an energy tender issued by Israel’s electricity utility, the Israel Electric Company (IEC), to supply natural gas to provide energy for IEC’s power plants.

This desire by IEC for its own source for natural gas follows continued sabotage against the Sinai pipeline that has been supplying natural gas to Israel from Egypt.

Southern Cyprus’s biggest fear may not be the undersea environment, but an “above ground” one from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which with the assistance of its mentor, Turkey, is now reminding both its southern neighbor that just as Israel is still technically at war with Lebanon, so are the two separate regions, Northern and Southern Cyprus.

As such, Turkey considers any drilling agreements between southern Cyprus and Israel “null and void.”

A gas headache

Turkey meanwhile continues to issue threats that “it will take action” if the TRNC is not included in any energy deals made by Southern Cyprus.

According to Turkish Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu,

“The underwater sources around the island of Cyprus do not belong to Greek Cypriots only, but to Turkish Cypriots and Turkey as well. Unilateral gas drilling plans by Southern Cyprus would cause headaches.”

TRNC President Dervis Eroglu

Headaches indeed, as such plans only widen the gap that is still very much in effect between the two sections of the island, and still divides the former capital for the entire island, Nicosia. Along with this continuing issue, Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said earlier this month that “Turkey does not consider the Greek Cypriot administration’s planned oil and natural gas projects in the Mediterranean to be legitimate.”

TRNC President Dervis Eroglu

Undersea drilling plans for the Greek Cypriot Republic are still very much up in the air, and “will lead to several inconveniences” according to Turkish Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu.

One can only speculate as to what those “inconveniences” could be. But Israel is now making stronger alliances with Cyprus while natural gas developers boost economic ties with Cyprus through jointly-owned and operated distillation facilities on Cyprus. This brings the natural gas closer to Europe – Cyprus unlike Turkey is a EU member – and cuts down security risks for Israel.

Map: Noble Energy Inc

More about regional natural gas drilling and shipment issues:
Cyprus fears impact of undersea gas drilling
Third Egyptian Natural Gas Pipeline Blown Up by Terrorists
Lebanon Challenges Israel’s Natural Gas Borders at Sea
Hezbollah Interferes With Israel’s Energy Business

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15 thoughts on “Greek Cyprus Fearful Over Offshore Gas Well Drilling”

  1. JTR says:

    Like everwhere else on Earth, the Greek population keeps growing and needing fuels to run their machines so the drilling goes on and on whatever the consequences.

  2. Freedom says:

    You must love the Turks and their comments, the message from Greek Cypriots is clear “GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY” They always been arrogant and ignorant they think they’re going to rule the world. Get a grip!!!!

  3. salo says:

    why the there is a part of Jordan?! if we talking about enviroment, what the jordanians do to develop the territory called “west bank”?!? and what about Siria in the Golan Heights!?!? so if this site defend the enviroment, why do you put a map of Israel without the territories of Judea an Samaria and the Golan Heights?!?!

    1. The map was chosen to reflect what the region looks like in general.

  4. Maurice says:

    I guess that when it comes to the environment, politics and historical realities can connect a lot. That’s probably part of what Britishempire is trying to say. Had the Turks not invaded Cyprus in 1974 and hence divided the island into two sections, the overall environment situation there might be much better than it presently is,

  5. Maurice says:

    There will be no “environment” if these two entities don’t come together and do their utmost to save their island. There is practically no fresh water in Cyprus now except what is produced from desalination (read my GP article on this topic). And the Turkish side is even planning to pipe in water from the Turkish mainland (same article; even though Turkey itself is running short of fresh water.

    So, I repeat, both sides of this conflict had best pool their energies if they want to save their island. And that has nothing to do with drilling for natural gas.

  6. The ONLY reason there are Turks on this Christian island, is primarily because of the illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974, and in fact that is a continuation of their failed attempts to conquer the island during Medieval Times.
    The objective of the Kingdom of Cyprus ( which was part of the Kingdom Of England (from 1191-1489) – Normandy was under English control then,
    was mainly the elimination of the Ottoman threat. Normandy was under English control at that time.

    Now, the only reason there is a TC minority is because the Ottomans were defeated by the Anglo-Normans and,
    …the Ottomans seeked for revenge and an opportunity to invade the island. The Ottomans seeked for an opportunity following the end.
    of the Crusades and the subsequent end of the Kingdom of Cyprus.

    In 1571 the Ottomans raided the island and the island fallen in 1571, just ten years following the Great Siege of Malta.

    During that time many converted, and many Turks settled on the island. That is the only reason there is a Turkish-Cypriot minority in Cyprus.

    The Catholic Churches built by Anglo-Normans were confiscated and converted into mosques. During that time the Orthodox Christian Church.
    bought and saved many of the Catholic Churches. A number of soldiers (around 3,000) , and craftsmen from Anatolia, were settled on the island.

    The policy was energetically pursued until about 30,000 Muslim Turks had been settled on the island amongst a population of perhaps 150,000 Cypriots.
    The anti-ottoman resistance lasted for nearly 3 generations, although Cyprus was placed under British Administration (The Turks demanded that Britain would pay lease),
    and was later annexed part of the British Empire until it gained its indepedence in 1960.

    The Ottoman Empire called for a military jihad against France, Russia and Great Britain in November 1914.

    In 1974 The illegal invasion of Cyprus.

    2011- The Ottomans in the North , demand their ‘human rights’ to visit a mosque in the free/non-occupied Republic of Cyprus.

    1. What’s the point of this comment and how does it connect to the environment?

  7. PhilD says:


    nice of you to be quoting Aristotle…where or what were the Turks when he was writing that?

    Can you see reality?
    Can you touch Hellenic history all over Asia minor and Cyprus?
    How did it come about to be desecrated?

    Justice will prevail and all of Turkey’s threats and lies will not kill it.

  8. Theo says:


    The exaggeration of the facts i.e. how many Turkish Cypriots were killed between 1963-1964 (get your years right as well as the numbers) and at the same time not mentioning the killings of the Greek Cypriots at the same period or the killings in General (all killings were unacceptable by any standards by the way) is a normal Turkish propaganda that manipulates the reality. Also as others said you cannot on one hand claim that in Cyprus are two separate states and at the same time claim the wealth of the state you do not recognize. So at the end of the day can someone clarify what you want ? One state that share the wealth or two states that the Republic of Cyprus (or South Cyprus as you call it) shares everything but not the other way around ?
    As for the arrogance on what Turkey will do in this case against American and Israeli interests (and Cyprus interests at the same time) its laughable

  9. kodlu says:

    There, there now Petros. Just apply a little Aristotelian logic, or are you not a descendant of great Greek philosophers?!

    Can you see it — yes, look out of your window.
    Can you touch it — yes, go to the green line.
    How did it come about — the ethnic cleansing of 50,000+ Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots, the undercover invasion by Greek soldiers in the 1963-67 period.

    Oh, you want to have your cake and eat it too? Let me share a little secret with you. The UN resolutions are under the non-enforceable section of the UN Charter, why do you think the Permanent members not enforce them in all these years?

    OK, now relax and dream of Russian submarines, which the Greek Cypriot press is adamant will protect you.

    Carry on.

  10. Petros says:

    There is no “southern Cyprus and “northern Cyprus”. There is the Republic of Cyprus, member of the UN and EU, part of which has been ethnically cleansed, colonized, and continues to be occupied by Turkey.

    The unanimous UN resolutions 541 and 550 state “the attempt to create a ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, is invalid”. the UN “Calls upon all States to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, unity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus” and “Reiterates the call upon all States not to recognize the purported state of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ set up by secessionist acts and calls upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity”.

    Who is Turkey trying to fool. Tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots have been demonstrating in the occupied part of Cyprus telling Turkey to get its hands off of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots want a United Cyprus in the United States model as do the Greek Cypriots.

    Turkey out to be very careful, as it is not facing tiny Cyprus as in the past. The United States, Russia, Greece, and Israel made it very clear that they will protect their interests.

  11. Maurice Picow says:

    Good question, gressy. Maybe the Turks think they own the entire island, and are only “leasing” the southern portion to the Greek Cypriots.

  12. gressy says:

    Derviş Eroğlu should remember that northern Cyprus declared independence from the Republic of Cyprus in 1983. So how does the north have any claim over drilling operations which are, to date, entirely off the southern coast of the island?

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