Energy in Cyprus: Legal Framework
The legal framework detailed below, is applicable to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, its territorial waters and the continental shelf with regard to Hydrocarbon activities. These laws and regulations determine the conditions in prospection, exploration and exploitation of Hydrocarbon activities in the Cyprus Offshore Exploration Blocks for the granting of the necessary authorizations. Environmental protection, health and safety aspects have been taken into consideration.
- The Hydrocarbons (Prospecting, Exploration and Exploitation) Law (2007)
- The Hydrocarbons (Prospecting, Exploration and Exploitation) Regulations (2007 and 2009)
- Harmonization with Directive 94/22/EC of the European Parliament and Council concerning the Hydrocarbon prospecting, exploration and production activities
- The Contiguous Zone Law (2004)
- The Declaration of the EEZ Law (2004) – (UNCLOS’82)
- Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
The European Parliament and Council Directive – 94/22/EC
Cyprus has harmonized the laws and regulations detailed above with the provisions of the European Parliament and Council Directive – 94/22/EC and other relevant EU legislation.
The Contiguous Zone Law (2004)
This law proclaims that:
‘The inner limit of which is identical with the outer limit of the territorial sea and the outer limit of which shall not extend beyond the 24 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breath of the territorial sea is measured.’
Hence, States involved will affect the delimitation by agreement between them, in cases where part of the Contiguous Zone overlaps with part of the Contiguous Zone of any other State. Should an agreement not be in place, the delimitation of this zone shall not extend beyond the median line or the equidistance line, measured from the respective baselines from which the breadth of the territorial seal is measured.
The Declaration of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Law (2004)
Based on a ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS’82) by the Republic of Cyprus, the Declaration of the EEZ Law was legislated in 2004.
This law defines the EEZ as:
‘An area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention. The EEZ shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.
Where the coasts of two States are opposite or adjacent to each other, neither of the two States is entitled, failing agreement between them to the contrary, to extend its territorial sea beyond the median line every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points on the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial seas of each f the two States is measured.
The exact limits of the EEZ at any given time shall be made public by Notification issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as these limits will be shaped according to the specific areas and the possible delimitation agreements to be reached.
Delimitation agreements have been signed by the Republic of Cyprus with its neighbouring countries, in order to define its EEZ, as provided by the above law, details of which are shown below:
- Republic of Cyprus – Lebanon
Delimitation agreement of the EEZ with Lebanon (Jan 2007)
- Republic of Cyprus – Arab Republic of Egypt
- Delimitation agreement of the EEZ with Arab Republic of Egypt (Feb 2003), based on the median-line principle and in accordance with the provisions of the UNCLOS’82
- Republic of Cyprus ratified the delimitation of the EEZ with Arab Republic of Egypt by Law (Mar 2003)
- Framework Agreement concerning the development of cross-median line Hydrocarbon resources (May 2006)
- Confidentiality Agreement (May 2006)
- Republic of Cyprus – State of Israel
- Delimitation agreement of the EEZ with Israel (Dec 2010)
- Republic of Cyprus ratified the delimitation of the EEZ with
Israel by Law (Feb 2011)
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
In accordance with the EU Directive 2001/42/EC of 27 June 2001, the Ministry of Commerce has undertaken a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant effects on the environmental effects of implementing hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities. This assessment (SEA) will bind all the licensees to follow and comply with the results and recommendations it presents.
Hydrocarbon operations are conducted in an environmentally acceptable and safe manner, consistent with the environmental legislation and the good international industry practice, which every licensee shall adhere to.