Turkey, Turkish Cyprus will respond to ‘so-called int’l Greek Cypriot deals’

Turkey, Turkish Cyprus will respond to ‘so-called int’l Greek Cypriot deals’

Bülent Sarıoğlu – ANKARA
Turkey, Turkish Cyprus will respond to ‘so-called int’l Greek Cypriot deals’ Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will respond in coordination to a French-Italian drill off southeastern Cyprus, which he mocked as a “so-called international tender.”

“Some fields that Greek Cyprus opens to so-called international [natural gas search] tenders intersect with our country’s eastern Mediterranean continental shelf,” Çavuşoğlu said in response to a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Mevlüt Dudu. 

“We express on every occasion that we will by no means turn a blind eye on Greek Cypriot activities in these fields on the contrary to the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots and will give the necessary response in cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot government,” said the minister.
Greek Cypriot media reported earlier this month that the initial findings from drilling by a consortium of France’s Total and Italy’s Eni in Block 11 were disappointing, since despite hopes of a huge find due to the drilling spot’s proximity to Egypt’s giant Zohr gas field, less than 0.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas was found.

A comprehensive assessment of the results, both by the government and the companies, will “take some time,” the Greek Cyprus Agency said on Sept. 10. 

U.S. giant ExxonMobil said on Sept. 6 that it plans to start drilling on two sites in the second half of 2018 to explore for energy reserves off the south coast of Cyprus.

Preparations to support the drilling operations are already underway, the company’s vice president Tristan Aspray said at a presentation in Nicosia, as reported by AFP. 

He said the operations would take place back-to-back and begin in the second half of 2018. ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum have signed a license agreement with the Greek Cyprus government to explore Block 10 for oil and gas as part of a third licensing round to exploit new offshore plots.

Block 10 is close to where ENI and Total had conducted searches.

The U.S. firm Noble Energy made the first find off the southeastern part of the island in 2011 in the Aphrodite field (Block 12), estimated to contain 127.4 billion cubic meters of gas.