Serhat TUNAR -TDO- As the drilling crisis between Turkey and Cyprus continues, the Greek Cypriot Administration announced that it has signed its first 8.4 billion euro gas operating agreement with Shell, Noble and Delek companies. Under the agreement with American, Israeli, British and Dutch companies, Nicosia will get an average of 470m euros a year for 18 years.

"Noble Energy, Shell and Delek have the first operating licenses, they can market the resources," Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said after signing the agreement. "he said.

The 25-year licensing agreement covers the Aphrodite gas field, which was first discovered off Cyprus by Noble in 2011.

The deal was signed after revisions requested by the companies were approved due to a fall in oil prices since mid-2014. Under the deal, Nicosia will get an average of 470m euros a year for 18 years.

Lakkotrypis said that under the terms of the deal, the consortium had to extract natural gas by 2025.

Last February, ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum discovered a large gas field containing 230 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to estimates.

The European Union (EU) decided in July to impose sanctions on Turkey for drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean. The resolution calls for funding cuts, no high-level meetings for now, and an invitation by the European Investment Bank to reconsider the terms of its financial assistance to Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that additional steps would be taken in addition to existing activities in the Eastern Mediterranean if sanctions were imposed.

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