Cyprus Extends East Med Gas Role with Egyptian Deal
By Christopher Coates
Building on its new role as the Eastern Mediterranean’s natural gas anchor, Cyprus announced a new working partnership with Egypt meant to promote the sharing of expertise and experience between the two countries. According to comments from Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ossama Kamal, Cyprus made an appeal for guidance on how best to approach the island-nation’s new-found oil and gas claims in the region. A Cypriot technical delegation is scheduled to travel to Egypt next month, according to the Egypt Daily News.
Recently, Cyprus has emerged as one of the most active actors in the push to exploit the Eastern Mediterranean’s newfound energy potential. The country’s European backing and apparent willingness to explore production partnerships with just about anyone have allowed them to etch out a reliable middle ground in the often-contentious energy environment. As Israel, Lebanon and Turkey deal with conflicting claims over the regional find and maritime, Cyprus appears content to extend an olive branch to all in the region.
To be sure, leaders in Nicosia have encountered some blow back for their efforts, most notably in the form of Turkish naval ships sent to express the country’s strong feelings about Northern Cyprus being left out of the energy boom. But even then, Cyprus responded with an open-arms approach, suggesting that gas revenues from local exploration could be used to fund reunification talks between the island’s two halves.
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