Turkey ‘set for its first drilling by Novem­ber’

Cyprus Today - - FRONT PAGE -

TURKEY will con­duct its first ever ex­ploratory drilling in the Mediter­ranean by the end of this month, Turk­ish En­ergy Min­is­ter Fatih Dön­mez has an­nounced, days af­ter Ankara had re­acted an­grily to a Greek Cypriot de­ci­sion to in­vite bids for fresh hy­dro­car­bons ex­plo­ration in a dis­puted off­shore re­gion.

The in­au­gu­ral Turk­ish work will be un­der­taken by the drill­ship Fatih, which was now in place off the coast of An­talya, said Mr Dön­mez, adding that a num­ber of stud­ies and tests need to be done be­fore drilling could start.

He told an en­ergy sum­mit that Ankara hoped to add a sec­ond ves­sel soon to its hy­dro­car­bons ex­plo­ration fleet, and that the seis­mic sur­vey­ing ves­sel, Bar­baros Hayret­tin Paşa, would also con­tinue its work in the re­gion.

“We will pro­tect un­til the end our re­sources de­riv­ing from in­ter­na­tional law in the Mediter­ranean,” he told the sum­mit in An­talya.

The an­nounce­ment came af­ter Ankara last week is­sued a warn­ing over an in­vi­ta­tion from the South for ap­pli­ca­tions to drill in “block seven”, south-west of the is­land — an area over­lapped by wa­ters claimed by Turkey as part of its Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone — say­ing ex­ploratory ac­tiv­i­ties could only take place with Turk­ish per­mis­sion and that Ankara would con­tinue to take “all nec­es­sary mea­sures” to “pro­tect its rights”.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan also cau­tioned against “cri­sis and even con­flict” in the re­gion over the is­sue, and warned: “Those try­ing to act in this re­gion, while ig­nor­ing us, should know that their own ex­is­tence is put en­tirely into jeop­ardy.”

The ris­ing ten­sions also brought a de­mand on Wed­nes­day from South Cyprus, Greece and Egypt for Turkey to cease all “il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties within the mar­itime zones of Cyprus” and to re­frain from sim­i­lar ac­tions in the fu­ture.

Greek Cypriot leader Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades, Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, made the state­ment fol­low­ing their sixth tri­lat­eral sum­mit in Elounda, Crete where four mem­o­ran­dums were signed in ed­u­ca­tion, cus­toms, small and medium-sized busi­nesses, and co­op­er­a­tion among in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agen­cies.

In their of­fi­cial dec­la­ra­tion fol­low­ing the meet­ing, the three lead­ers reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to broaden and deepen their tri­lat­eral part­ner­ship in var­i­ous fields of com­mon in­ter­est, and to en­hance their ef­forts to­wards pro­mot­ing peace, sta­bil­ity, se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity in the Eastern Mediter­ranean, based on com­mon val­ues and in­ter­ests.

They also re­viewed com­mon chal­lenges faced in the en­ergy field, the need for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of en­ergy re­sources and routes, the se­cu­rity of en­ergy sup­ply and the need to mod­ernise and de­velop new en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture, for fur­ther pro­mot­ing tri­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in the ar­eas of hy­dro­car­bons, elec­tric­ity and re­new­able en­ergy.

Mean­while four ma­jor in­vest­ment firms have ex­pressed an in­ter­est in fi­nanc­ing the con­struc­tion of a pipe­line that would trans­port nat­u­ral gas from South Cyprus’s as-yet-un­tapped Aphrodite field — es­ti­mated to con­tain around 130 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres of gas — to Egypt, Bloomberg re­ported on Wed­nes­day.

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