Cyprus row axes Italy’s Eni from Turkish deals

Cyprus row axes Italy’s Eni from Turkish deals

Cyprus row axes Italy’s Eni from Turkish deals

Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yıldız. AA Photo

Turkey has decided 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, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said.

“We have decided not to work with Eni in Turkey and we have suspended their ongoing projects,” Taner Yıldız said during an interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk.

Eni has a share in the Samsun-Ceyhan crude pipeline, which is planned to span Turkey from the Black Sea province of Samsun to the oil hub Ceyhan in the south. Eni, Russia’s Rosneft and Transneft, and Turkey’s Çalık are all partners in the project.

Yıldız said today that Turkey might consider canceling the Samsun-Ceyhan deal.

“I don’t know whether Çalık will find a new partner or not, but we might suspend the project if they choose to continue their partnership with Eni,” he said, adding that the government would not allow projects to be conducted with Eni until the Italian firm changed the situation.

Yıldız also added that they could find alternatives to the Samsun-Ceyhan deal if it was canceled.

Turkey’s reaction expected: Eni CEO

Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said on March 27 that the Turkish government’s negative reaction to its energy deal in Greek Cyprus had been expected, but added that Eni was not sure which of its projects would be blocked in Turkey, Fox Business reported.

“The types of exploration blocks in Cyprus facing the direction of Turkey are disputed, but we are following EU rules and couldn’t do otherwise,” said Scaroni, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Rome, the report said. “I am not sure what Turkey can interrupt,” he added. “I hope relations with Turkey return to their previous excellent levels, also with Minister Yıldız.”

State-controlled Eni, in which the Italian Economy and Finance Ministry has a 30.1 percent golden share, is also a partner to the Blue Stream, a transport system running beneath the Black Sea that supplies Russian natural gas to Turkey.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said earlier this week that Turkey found “unacceptable” a loan method for debt-hit Greek Cyprus that provides natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean as a guarantee. “The resources around the island belong to all people that live on the island in the framework of international law,” Babacan said, pointing to the rights of the Turkish side on the divided island.

Yıldız stressed that Russia’s Gazprom and Rosneft would not join in projects in Greek Cyprus due to strategic cooperation agreement between Turkey and Russia.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan stated in a U.N. meeting last year that such companies would enter Turkey’s “black list,” the energy minister added.