NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Greece must pursue a search for oil and gas to help lift itself out of its economic morass, the country’s conservative party leader said Monday.
Speaking during a visit to Cyprus, Antonis Samaras said that Greece should follow the eastern Mediterranean island’s example and mark its maritime borders. This would enable it to begin searching for offshore mineral deposits.
The New Democracy party leader said after talks with Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias that a “joint strategy” on potential offshore mineral deposits could be formed between Greece and Cyprus.
Speaking after a separate meeting with the island’s Commerce Minister Praxoulla Antoniadou, Samaras said: “Greece’s goal and purpose must be to capitalise on this wealth that exists beneath its seas which we must exploit at whichever cost, especially during such difficult economic times.”
Cyprus confirmed in December that a field off its southern shore where Texas-based Noble Energy is conducting exploratory drilling contains an estimated 5-8 trillion cubic feet (140-230 billion cubic meters) of natural gas.
Cyprus has maritime border agreements with both Israel and Egypt. The island opened a second licensing round earlier this month for more offshore exploratory drilling off its southern coast, despite strong opposition from Turkey, which doesn’t recognise the island’s sovereignty.
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