Feb 13 2018

Cyprus gas find raises political stakes – analyst

Eni’s announcement of a new gas discovery in Cyprus – named Calypso – raises the political stakes on the Mediterranean island and may help unify its Greek and Turkish communities, divided along ethnic lines for more than four decades.

The Italian firm announced the discovery on Feb. 8, saying it “confirms the extension of the ‘Zohr like’ play” into Cyprus, a reference to the massive Zohr field found in Egypt in 2015”, Nikos Tsafos, a senior associate for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a report. The company has promised additional studies to assess the extent of the find.

A smaller find – Aphrodite – has failed to alter political balances on the island and may not be developed for years, rendering it a victim to, rather than a catalyst for political developments, he said.

“Calypso brings more value to the table, but whether this helps or hinders a deal for unifying the island will depend on how talks go more broadly,” Tsafos said.

The discovery is also likely to sharpen Europe’s focus, with Brussels set to redouble its efforts, politically, financially and diplomatically, to ensure the gas is developed, he said.