Second ExxonMobil vessel arrives in Limassol port, as US Amb urges Cyprus and Turkey to resolve EEZ dispute

Exxon Mobil’s research vessel Med Surveyor sailed into Limassol Port on Thursday morning, following the arrival of the Ocean Investigator, which arrived the previous day.

Med Surveyor and Ocean Investigator will refuel and load the necessary equipment for environmental research in block 10, inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

This much-awaited arrival happened as US Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty said on the same day that while the US recognises the Republic’s right to develop the resources within its EEZ, it does not take positions on who has the right over maritime boundaries.

Doherty further stressed that on the matters of hydrocarbons, the parties involved should work out a solution on their own.

Following last month’s dispute with Turkey when it prevented an ENI drillship from operating in block 3, Doherty was called to answer questions on similar possible problems with ExxonMobil’s vessels.

Doherty said that activities in the immediate few weeks will focus on whether there are any archaeological finds in the sea and also to figure out where to drill, clarifying that they are not expecting any problems.

Doherty pointed out that it often takes several years, maybe even decades, before all the conditions are right for revenue to begin flowing from energy resources and she stressed that the best way to work out how to share resources was an effective resolution of the issue, but underlined the oft-repeated position that the island’s gas and oil resources, like all its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement.

She said that ExxonMobil did not intend to drill for several months and that gave ample time “to focus on what really matters which is in my government’s opinion the settlement process”, but also stressed that exploratory activities did not necessarily mean a find and even if there were a deposit it may not be feasible to commercialise it.

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