Energy companies have claimed Cypriot offshore gas fields could contain between 170 and 230 billion cubic meters of gas.
Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian energy giant ENI, made the claim to reporters in Cairo this week as tensions mount in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey drew criticism from the European Commission this week after its warships were became involved in an incident with a drillship belonging to ENI in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Descalzi has said the eastern Mediterranean could become a natural-gas power if its regional nations pooled resources.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Ankara on Tuesday hit out at Greece and Cyprus, saying: “Opportunistic attempts concerning gas exploration off Cyprus and concerning Aegean islets are not escaping our attentions.”
The weekend incident near Cyprus came shortly before renewed tensions in the Aegean, with a Turkish coast guard ship ramming a Greek vessel near Imia on Monday night, promoting Athens to summon Turkey’s ambassador to the foreign ministry for an explanation.