Turkey may drill for oil and gas in Cyprus: Minister
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız speaking at a conference. AA photo
Turkey’s Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa seismic vessel, which has been conducting offshore oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, could enter Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone in three weeks to continue exploration pending prime ministerial approval, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said.
“The Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa is drilling off the coast of the Mersin-İskenderun-Antalya region. It will work there, for three weeks more. Later, we will speak with Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] as to whether it will enter Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone. If the prime minister approves, the vessel could enter to the north or south of Cyprus because it has both a technical and political dimension,” Yıldız told private broadcaster A Haber in an interview early today.
Yıldız also said they might buy a new vessel depending on the work load.
Turkey has strongly protested against Greek Cyprus’ energy exploration in the Mediterranean, branding the moves illegal and starting its own exploratory drilling off Turkish northern Cyprus. The Turkish government says all revenues obtained from the drilling operations off the coast of Cyprus should be distributed between Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus and have frequently warned that Turkey would undertake unilateral drilling in the event of any failure to equitably share revenues.
Ankara has also said companies could be shut out of future Turkish energy investments if they become involved in Greek Cypriot energy exploration work.
Turkey decided in March to suspend energy projects with Italian giant Eni in retaliation for the company’s involvement in oil and gas drilling off the coast of Greek Cyprus.