Up to 10 global firms apply for southern energy projects
BOLU - Anatolia News Agency
Dry bulk carriers are frequenting one of the main ports of Mersin, a southern province of Turkey. Energy Minister Yıldız says, an oil and natural gas exploration project off Mersin will be concluded soon. DHA photoAlmost 10 international companies have applied to undertake a project to explore oil and natural gas off Mersin, a southern province on the Mediterranean coast, according to the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız.
The exploration projects will be concluded soon, he said, at a meeting organized by the Energy Market Regulatory Authority [EPDK] and Turkish Petroleum Industry Association (Perder) in the northern province of Bolu. “We have opened the project not only to international capital, but also to oil producing companies. We will conclude our initiatives soon.”
Yıldız added that it was not right for the Greek Cypriot administration to explore oil and natural gas outside its territorial waters. The Greek Cypriot administration should carry out such initiatives together with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, he said, reiterating the official policy of Turkey on the issue.
“All the peoples of Cyprus should benefit from those resources equally. Works [regarding oil and natural gas exploration] continue in Famagusta [province of Turkish Cyprus] and [the southern province of] Antalya […] I hope that oil and natural gas exploration, not only Mediterranean but also Cyprus, could prove to be a significant reason for peace,” Yıldız said.
Earlier this week, the Greek Cypriot administration called for a new international tender for off-shore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, within its so-called exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Greek Cyprus Feb. 16, to discuss energy cooperation after Greek Cyprus launched a second licensing round for offshore exploratory drilling. It was the first official visit of an Israeli prime minister to Greek Cyprus, marking a historic step regarding relations between the two countries.
Relations between Turkey and Greek Cyprus have been problematic, with the peace process to unite the island stuttering for decades. Relations between Turkey and Israel have deteriorated since the Mavi Marmara flotilla raid conducted by Israeli forces in May 2010, which killed nine Turkish activists.
The Greek Cypriot Commerce Ministry announced a second licensing round to search for mineral deposits in 12 of the 13 sections off its southern coast. The designated exploration blocks overlap with Turkey’s continental shelf areas in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as the concession blocks Turkish Cyprus granted to the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) last September.
Speaking on the domestic petroleum market, Yıldız said: “We want to protect the consumers. We follow the domestic and foreign markets and make dynamic moves.” The petroleum sector is the most exposed to foreign market risks compared with other markets, and that was clearly observed last year in view of price volatility, he added.