Exxon Mobil’s “Ocean Investigator” research vessel sailed on Tuesday night from the port of Limassol into block 10 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to carry out environmental explorations for the US oil giant.
The Ocean Investigator had docked at the port of Limassol on March 14.
A second research vessel of Exxon Mobil called “Med Surveyor” also departed from the port of Limassol on Tuesday and headed towards Piraeus, Greece, after having completed its environmental research in block 10.
The arrivals of the survey vessels come weeks after Turkey blocked Italy's ENI drillship from conducting explorations in block 3 of Cyprus' EEZ - after a prolonged stand-off the operation was postponed and the Italian ship departed for Morocco earlier this month.
Test drilling in Block 10 by ExxonMobil and its partner Qatar Petroleum is scheduled to take place in October and the survey ship are exploring the area to prepare for that.
Turkey is opposed to any energy exploration by the Republic of Cyprus, arguing that Greek Cypriots were planning without the consent or participation of Turkish Cypriots. Nicosia says the island's energy wealth belongs to all Cypriots and what Turkey is doing is illegal.
But the EU and the US has backed the island's energy search and told Turkey to cease its illegal activity in the East Med where there is thought to be large natural gas reserves.