Italian energy firm Eni to drill more for gas deposits off Cyprus coast

Eni has received drilling licenses in six areas, or blocks, south of Cyprus. (AP)
Updated 25 April 2018
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Italian energy firm Eni to drill more for gas deposits off Cyprus coast

NICOSIA, Cyprus: Eni will proceed with more exploratory drilling south of Cyprus over the next 20 months, affirming a “strong engagement and commitment” in a hydrocarbons search off the east Mediterranean island nation, the Italian company’s chief executive said Wednesday.
Claudio Descalzi said that Eni has already invested around €700 million in that search off Cyprus and will carry on exploration until more gas deposits are discovered.
“Clearly in 2018 and 2019 we are going to drill wells and make studies,” Descalzi said after talks with the Cypriot president. “There is a good cooperation and there is a good alliance...with the government and we share the same objectives.”
Eni has already discovered a gas deposit southwest of Cyprus. Descalzi said an appraisal well will need to be drilled to determine the deposit’s size.
He said Eni won’t stop its search for gas in the areas where it has received a license to drill, despite Turkey’s opposition to it.
Eni has received drilling licenses in six areas, or blocks, south of Cyprus. In three of those blocks, it has joined with South Korean company Kogas and in two it has partnered up with France’s Total.
In February, Turkish warships blocked a drillship from reaching a target southeast of Cyprus where Eni was scheduled to drill.
Turkey strongly opposes the gas search because it sees it as a “unilateral” action by the ethnically split island’s Greek Cypriots that ignores the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the island’s mineral wealth.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.
The Cypriot government says the gas search is its sovereign right and that Turkish Cypriots will get their fair share of any potential proceeds after reunification.
Cyprus Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said ExxonMobil and partners Qatar Petroleum are due to carry out exploratory drilling in the second half of this year.
A deposit discovered by Texas-based Noble Energy in 2011 is estimated to contain more than 4 trillion cubic feet of gas.


Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

Updated 31 min 14 sec ago
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Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

  • Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion previously
  • Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption

DUBAI: Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East went down 15.3 percent to $6.62 billion in 2018 from $7.81 billion a year earlier, latest government data shows.
Lower crude prices, which affected most OFW host countries in the region, the job nationalization schemes of Gulf states and a deployment ban last year of household service workers to Kuwait were the primary reasons for the decline, a reversal from the 3.4 percent remittance growth recorded in 2017.
A government study has noted that Saudi Arabia was the leading country of destination for OFWs, with more than a quarter of Filipinos being deployed there at any given time, together with the United Arab Emirates (15.3 percent), Kuwait (6.7 percent) and Qatar (5.5 percent).
Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion a year before; down 19.9 percent to $2.03 billion in the UAE from $2.54 billion in 2017; 14.5 percent lower in Kuwait to $689.61 million from $806.48 million and 9.2 percent down in Qatar to $1 billion in 2018, from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
The Philippine government issued a deployment ban for Kuwait early last year, and lasted for five months, after a string of reported deaths and abuses on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
OFW remittances from Oman, which implemented a job nationalization program like that of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, dove 33.8 percent to $228.74 million in 2018 from $345.41 million a year before. In Bahrain, cash sent by Filipinos rose 2.2 percent to $234.14 million last year from $229.02 million previously.
Meanwhile, overall OFW remittances grew 3 percent year-on-year to $32.2 billion, the highest annual level to date.
“The growth in personal remittances during the year was driven by remittance inflows from land-based OFs with work contracts of one year or more and remittances from both sea-based and land-based OFs with work contracts of less than one year,” the Philippine central monetary authority said.
Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption and in 2018 accounted for 9.7 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.