GCC Press Review | 1 Mar 2019 |

Front Page Headlines


$35 billion in possible revenue, multiple benefits

Glafcos opens up good prospects on many levels. ExxonMobil’s appetite for new drilling within block 10 and elsewhere increased. Good basis for liquefaction terminal but also for transfer of Leviathan to Vasiliko.

  •  Occupied areas: Cracks in the ‘government’  


$35 billion natural gas deposit

The US giant remains in Cyprus for 20 years and sees expansion to other blocks. More than five targets within block 10 under the microscope. Seven drillings in the Cypriot EEZ (exclusive economic zone) within the next 17 months. Plans for a terminal are being undusted.

  • Standing by for news from (UN envoy Jane Holl) Lute on the Cyprus problem
  • Defence agreement also with Germany


They’re also getting their hands on the (electricity authority) EAC’s €1.3 billion

Ministerial decrees so that they can take surpluses. They tabled the bill despite reactions. AKEL: “The reserve is consumers’ money.” 

  • The (natural gas) deposits of ‘10’ will be marketable in seven to eight years. (France’s) Total interested in Block 7.
  • They twist things and mislead In the absence of arguments, the Presidential Palace manufactures statements and shifts the debate on the Guterres framework… Meanwhile, the President briefs National Council today on meeting with Akinci and energy.

Cyprus Mail

Cyprus’ largest gas discovery

ExxonMobil says 5-8 trillion cubic feet gas find ‘very encouraging’.

  • Customs destroy €3,800 worth of smuggled veg


Generous Glafcos

Between 5-8 trillion cubic feet discovered by ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum drilling. The biggest deposit so far in the Cypriot EEZ and one of the biggest ones discovered in the world the last two years. The findings consolidate the presence of the American giant in the Cypriot EEZ. 

  • ‘Blue Homeland’ turned Cyprus red – Cyprus appears in a poster on the (naval) exercise as Turkish land.

Main News

Glafcos find encouraging but further analysis required

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis


The natural gas find in the Glafcos well in Block 10 of Cyprus’ EEZ is estimated at between 5-8 trillion cubic feet (tcf), ExxonMobil and the government announced on Thursday but further analysis in the coming months will be required to better determine the resource potential.

The find is expected to yield around $35 billion in proceeds, most of the dailies report.

The announcement was made after ExxonMobil’s vice-president for Europe, Russia, Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East, Tristan Aspray, briefed President Nicos Anastasiades on the results of the company’s drilling in Glafcos and Delphine wells in Block 10. Delphine did not encounter commercial quantities of hydrocarbons, the company said.

Speaking at a press conference, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said Glafcos is the largest discovery so far in the EEZ and according to official data one of the greatest discoveries in the world in the past two years. It is the second big find following Noble Energy’s discovery of 4.5 tcf in 2011 in the Aphrodite field in Block 12.

“The results demonstrate the potential of our EEZ because it is a high-quality reservoir,” the minister said.

Aspray said he was very encouraged by the discovery and added that in the coming months, there would be an appraisal drilling, in order to determine the full potential of the field.

He said that ExxonMobil is interested in other opportunities in Cyprus as well as the broader Eastern Mediterranean. These would likely take place next year.

Politis reports that following the discovery, the company is now eyeing another seven to eight targets within Block 10 but also parts of Blocks 11 and 12.

According to Phileleftheros, as of next November and until the end of 2020, seven drillings will take place within Cyprus’ EEZ, five by ExxonMobil and two by the TOTAL-ΕΝΙ consortium.

Aspray said his company was fully aware of political tensions in the region when they were bidding for Block 10. He noted that Block 10 does not in any case lie within a “disputed” area in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He said it was too early to tell if the Glafcos find would make viable the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the island, noting that additional quantities would need to be discovered. 

Cyprus Mail reports the 5-8 tcf cited does not specify whether these are recoverable quantities. Calypso in Block 6 is believed to hold 3 to 4 tcf, according to rumours within the industry.

Energy analyst Charles Ellinas told the Cyprus Mail that it would take the better part of 10 years from now for an LNG facility to go operational. “Don’t expect the money to flow in tomorrow.”

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer who was on a visit to Greece on Wednesday, said that the US hopes the development of the island’s natural reserves would provide incentives for a solution. He urged all sides involved in Cyprus’ EEZ to practice restraint.

According to Phileleftheros, the find would be enough to cover Cyprus’ electricity needs for the next 200 years.

The political parties welcomed the announcement and stressed the importance of proper management of the exploitation of the find.

Glafcos find is the largest discovery so far in the EEZ & one of the greatest discoveries in the world in the past two years.
>> The results demonstrate the potential of Cyprus’ EEZ because it is a high-quality reservoir.

Aspray (ExxonMobil)
Block 10 does not lie within a “disputed” area in the Eastern Mediterranean.
>> ExxonMobil is interested in other opportunities in Cyprus as well as the broader Eastern Mediterranean.

Palmer (USA)
Hopes development of island’s natural resources provides incentives for solution.
All sides involved in Cyprurs’ EEZ should practice restraint.

‘The government spreads fake news’

Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process


AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou accused the Presidential Palace of spreading fake news after Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that he had mentioned this week there was no meeting on July 4, 2017 in Crans-Montana.

Kyprianou said, during an intervention on state broadcaster CyBC radio on Wednesday, responding to a question, he merely pointed out who were present at that meeting.

“I never said or suggested that there was no leaders’ meeting or any other meeting,” Kyprianou said. But the main point, he said, is that the UN Secretary-General refers in his reports to a June 30 Framework. President Nicos Anastasiades himself refers to the same document in his letter of July 18, 2017, to Antonio Guterres, Kyprianou said.

He called on the government to explain why internationally, it is referring to the June 30 Framework but at home is trying to convince everyone that there is a July 4 ‘oral document’.

Meanwhile, Anastasiades is to brief the National Council on Friday on his meeting earlier in the week with TC leader Mustafa Akinci but also on energy.

Tensions are expected at the meeting as some opposition parties are expected to voice their discontent over some of the confidence-building measures (CBMs) announced last Tuesday, Politis reports.

According to Phileleftheros Nicosia is on standby in anticipation of the results of UN envoy Jane Holl Lute’s latest round of contacts with the guarantor powers. Lute concluded visits to the UK and Greece and she is to also travel to Ankara, but no date has been set yet.

The results of Lute’s meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will set the tone for developments in the Cyprus problem, as Nicosia is waiting to find out if there is a possibility of a resumption of the talks, if it will be possible before June,  and where things stand as regards the terms of reference, wrote the paper.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told Alpha TV on Wednesday the government has made sure Lute was briefed on what took place in the morning of July 4 at Crans-Montana in 2017 by persons who had attended the meeting.

He said he too had discussed the issue with former UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide.

“It is clear what had been said and no one questions those who attended on what was said on July 4,” Christodoulides was quoted by Phileleftheros as saying.

 The minister is to have a meeting with his Greek counterpart Giorgos Katrougalos on the sidelines of the Delphi Economic Forum taking place between February 28 and March 3 in Greece, the daily said.

Kyprianou (AKEL)

>> Government should explain why it refers to June 30 Framework internationally but at home tries to convince everyone there is a July 4 ‘oral document’.

>> Lute has been briefed on the July 4 meeting by persons who were present.
>> No one questions what was said on July 4.

Cyprus-Germany mull upgrade of military cooperation

EU Matters, External Security


German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is expected to arrive on the island on Tuesday for consultations with her Cypriot counterpart Savvas Angelides, Phileleftheros reports.

The two ministers are to discuss the upgrade of cooperation between the two countries at a bilateral level but also within the framework of PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation), as well as the participation of Germany in UN peacekeeping missions in the region.

Cyprus already provides facilities to Germany by hosting its vessels at Limassol port and allowing military personnel taking part in UN missions to use facilities at Paphos’ military recruits’ training centre.

The French defence minister is also expected to arrive on the island in the near future for similar reasons. At the moment, consultations are underway between Cyprus and France at technical level on the enhancement of relations between the two countries in this field, the daily said.

‘Prospects of further enhancement of Cyprus-France cooperation’

Alithia, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations


French Ambassador to Nicosia Rene Troccaz expressed his country’s willingness to further develop political relations with Cyprus on Thursday after a meeting with DISY leader Averof Neophytou.

He referred to cooperation between the countries in all areas (economic, defence, political) and reminded that the presidents of the two countries recently had the opportunity to seal the cooperation in the best way.

Troccaz also said that there are many French investments in Cyprus.

We want to continue investing in Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus, in energy, in all other sectors, such as tourism and many others, he said.

Replying to a question on Turkey’s military exercise in the region, Troccaz reiterated that his country was in favour of stability in the region.

Neophytou said that France is a friendly country to Cyprus and a permanent member of the UN Security Council that has held a principled stance as regards the Cyprus problem.

Except from the many investments, France is also present in Cyprus’ geostrategic space, he said.

Neophytou said there are many prospects for further cooperation in all sectors.

Cypriots and the political world consider France as one of the country’s most trustworthy partners, he said.

France is willing to further develop political relations with Cyprus.
>> France is in favour of stability in the region.
>> France wants to continue investing in Cyprus in all sectors.

Neophytou (DISY)
>> Cypriots consider France as one of the country’s most trustworthy partners.
>> There are many prospects for further cooperation in all sectors.

Calls in the north for a two-state solution

Negotiations Process


The majority of political parties in the north, according to their latest positions, would prefer a separate existence of the two communities and are trying to put pressure on TC leader Mustafa Akinci as to the desired form of solution, Phileleftheros reports.

Leader of the Democratic Party Serdar Denktash referred to a ‘step by step’ solution to the Cyprus problem. He argued that it is time for the international community to realise that the two sides will run the island as equal partners, otherwise the TCs will rule the north and GCs the south.

He also argued that the UN was causing more and more difficulties by persisting in non-functional contexts and content solutions. More and more people have begun to grasp the difficulties of reaching a comprehensive solution, he said. He explained that his proposal for a ‘step by step’ approach calls for solving problems one by one. He gave as an example decisions on the regulation of the Green Line, the Maronites, the opening of checkpoints.

Phileleftheros said that the leaders of the main opposition National Unity Party and of the Revival Party (the party of the settlers), called on Akinci to discuss a two-state solution.

Nevertheless, the agreement of the two leaders on CBMs was welcomed in the north, the daily reports.

Possible coalition collapse in the north

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Governance & Power Sharing


The four-party coalition in the north is facing collapse due to disagreements on the economy and the bizonal bicommunal federal solution, report the GC press.

National Unity Party leader Ersin Tatar did not rule out the possibility of cooperation with Kudret Ozersay’s People’s Party.

Speaking to Kibris Postasi, Tatar said that in the case the coalition collapses, if he gets the nod by his party’s collective bodies, he will launch consultations with the People’s Party.

Cyprus part of Turkey on military poster

External Security


There have been reactions on social media over a poster of the Turkish military depicting Cyprus as part of Turkey.

The poster provides information on the ongoing ‘Blue Homeland’ military exercise which started on Wednesday and wraps up on March 8. On it, Cyprus is in red, just like Turkey.

As part of the exercise taking place in the Black Sea, Aegean and Mediterranean, the participating ships will visit a total of 40 ports, of which 33 are in Turkey and 7 are abroad, Alithia reports the poster saying.

Returning paintings to GC owners not a simple matter

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi


The GC chair of the Technical Committee on Culture, Androulla Vassiliou, said on Wednesday it will be challenging to transport, store and insure the artworks to be returned to the GC side under a confidence-building measure reached by the two leaders.

She told the Cyprus News Agency the issue is to be discussed with the government and the UN.

The transfer involves 210 artworks, some of which are of great value, that were then found in private homes and galleries in the Famagusta area in the north.

Vassiliou said that works were scattered and TC leader Mustafa Akinci gave the order to gather the artworks in one space, to record and photograph them, before wrapping them for protection.

She added that finding the rightful owners will be painstaking and that the artworks need to be transferred to a secure space on the GC side until each owner is found.

Ownership will be discussed at the next meeting of the Committee to be held between March 12 and 15 in the presence of a lawyer who can assist in the process, she said.

Vassiliou added that many of the works are of great value and insuring them won’t come cheap, maintaining that the government or the UN ought to provide this money.

Arrivals of migrants through the north

Migration & Citizenship


In total 22 migrants crossed from the north on two occasions this week, 18 through the Akaki area and four through Potamia, Phileleftheros reports.

In the case of the four persons, a 41-year-old TC man was arrested after being caught transferring them with his car to the free areas.

Police located on Wednesday the 18 persons in the Akaki area after receiving information. Seventeen are from Syria and the other is a 16-year-old boy from an African country who was taken under the care of the social welfare services. The men were taken to the refugee reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia.

On the same day, police stopped a car that was seen crossing fields near the Nicosia buffer zone.

The car was driven by a TC man and had three men and a woman as passengers. It later emerged the passengers were from Cameroon and Congo. The TC was arrested for assisting third-country nationals to enter illegally the Republic, while the four others were arrested for illegal entry.

Fruit and veg seized and destroyed at crossing

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros, Politis


Customs on Thursday destroyed €3,800 worth of smuggled fruit and vegetables that was found in a truck with Greek Cypriot licence plates at the Ayios Dometios checkpoint after the driver failed to produce the necessary documents as per the Green Line Regulation.

Both the truck and the produce – 342 cases of fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes and red peppers – were seized. The driver was fined €2,000, with an additional €500 for the return of the truck.

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