Greek Cypriots sign $9 billion gas deal

Greek Cyprus government on Thursday signed its first natural gas exploitation deal worth $9.3 billion with a consortium comprised of Royal Dutch Shell, U.S.-based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek, Euronews reported.

Nicosia will receive an average yearly income of $520 million for 18 years, according to Euronews.

The agreement includes the distribution of revenues from natural gas exploitation from the Aphrodite field in the eastern Mediterranean and the transfer of natural gas by underwater pipeline to Egypt’s Idku liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

"Noble Energy, Shell and Delek now have in their hands the first exploitation license granted by the Republic of Cyprus so they can commercialise the deposit," Euronews quoted Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis as saying.

Turkey opposes what it calls Cyprus’ unilateral moves to exploit offshore natural gas and oil reserves and says the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the island, which is only recognised by Ankara, should receive a fair share of resources from the disputed island.

The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus says Turkish Cypriots will receive their share once the island is reunited. Turkish troops invaded the northern third of Cyprus in 1974 in response to a short-lived Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece.

The Aphrodite gas field is off the southern coast of Cyprus in block 12 of the country's maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Turkey has made claims to parts of blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7 of the Cyprus EEZ.