Minister: Gas drilling at 8 sites off Cyprus over 24 months

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LIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ energy minister says energy companies will drill in search of natural gas in waters off the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast at eight separate sites over the next two years.

Georgios Lakkotrypis said Tuesday that exploratory drilling would take place at six of those sites, while the remaining two would be to confirm gas deposits already discovered there.

Lakkotrypis didn’t specify the exact locations where the drilling would take place. He said that drilling would start at the end of this year or early 2020.

Energy companies including ExxonMobil, Total and Eni are licensed to conduct a hydrocarbons search off Cyprus. Gas has been discovered at three locations.

Cyprus accuses Turkey of violating its sovereign rights by attempting to drill in waters where it has exclusive economic rights.

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