Turkey to continue Cyprus gas drill
Monday, October 3, 2011
ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows the Turkish ship, the Piri Reis, leaving the İzmir port for gas exploration. Yıldız on Monday denied media reports that the vessel was set to return home. AFP photo
Turkey’s exploration vessel, the Piri Reis, will continue its seismic research efforts off southern Cyprus, a Turkish official said Monday, adding that it has partially completed its work on Block 12 – the zone where Greek Cyprus has begun drilling for oil and natural gas.
“Piri Reis will refuel in Famagusta Port on Monday and will sail again afterward,
” a senior diplomat told reporters Monday. He said the vessel would continue its research off the southern coast of the island, despite earlier reports that suggested it would return to İzmir Port late Monday. The East Mediterranean has been placed at the center of regional politics recently after a rift between Turkey and Israel and then after Greek Cyprus’ decision to commence oil drilling, despite Turkey’s strong rejection.
Turkey and Turkish Cyprus have signed a continental shelf agreement to delimitate water boundaries for joint oil and gas explorations. Some of the zones overlap with that of Greek Cyprus.
After completing two-dimensional research, the official said, the vessel will begin three-dimensional surveying, which will be followed by building a platform off Cyprus. “Drilling for oil and natural gas is among our plans. But naturally this process will take time,” the official added.
When asked whether Turkey would sign agreements to delimitate exclusive economic zones with other
littoral countries, such as Lebanon and Egypt, the official said, “Turkey will wait for the completion of reunification talks in the Cyprus Island and for the settlement in the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s energy minister has denied media reports that a Turkish vessel conducting seismic research around the island of Cyprus had completed studies and was soon set to return home, Anatolia news agency reported. “The Piri Reis research vessel is continuing its studies in another portion of the sea. And it will surely return to Turkey after completing its task,” Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters Monday.
Turkey deployed the seismic research ship after penning a deal with Turkish Cyprus to demark the underwater continental shelf borders between the two entities, allowing Turkey to search for oil and gas inside Turkish Cypriot waters. The agreement followed a Greek Cypriot move to start offshore drilling for natural gas and oil to the southeast of the eastern Mediterranean island.
Meanwhile, Cyprus’ president said on Saturday that exploratory drilling for offshore oil and gas deposits will continue despite Turkey’s strong opposition, Associated Press reported. Dimitris Christofias said the divided island’s right to search for potential mineral deposits inside its exclusive economic zone is non-negotiable and that any foreign meddling is unacceptable.
Turkey to continue Cyprus gas drill - Hurriyet Daily News