An ExxonMobil research vessel is expected to set anchor off Limassol on Tuesday evening, as the energy giant prepares for an exploration mission ahead of scheduled drilling later this year.
The Ocean Investigator, which is en route from Greece to the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), will be joined by sister boat Med Surveyor currently off the coast of Israel. The two ships plan to conduct surveys in Block 10 in the Cypriot EEZ.
The drilling in Block 10, scheduled to take place in October, would come after a failed attempt by Italian company ENI to conduct similar surveys in Block 3.
Unlike Block 3, there are no known claims by the Turkish government in Block 10
ENI withdrew from Block 3 last month after Turkey issued a NAVTEX for military exercises in the area. The Turkish government made no effort to hide that it was also against exploration by the Republic of Cyprus, arguing that Greek Cypriots were planning without the consent or participation of Turkish Cypriots.
The Republic of Cyprus argues the government has every right to explore its own natural resources. Turkey argues that some areas licensed to energy companies by Cyprus actually coincide with areas claimed by Turkey, such as Block 3. But there are no known claims by the Turkish government in Block 10.
The arrival of the Ocean Investigator was confirmed on state radio by Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis on Tuesday morning.