Turkey is determined to carry out its oil and gas exploration program in the Eastern Mediterranean despite the many players who have attempted to thwart its plans, the country's energy and natural resources minister said Thursday.
The country will continue with its business plan in the Mediterranean as scheduled, Minister Fatih Dönmez said and specified that deep drilling would start in July 2020 using the country’s drillship, Fatih, for the first time in the Black Sea.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Dönmez referred to the agreement with Libya signed on Nov. 27 last year on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and confirmed that following this memorandum of understanding, state oil company Turkish Petroleum had submitted its first application for exploration.
He said as soon as the application process is complete, the first seismic research activities would begin.
The pact asserted Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
It further underlined that Ankara had a say in projects that involve it, as it has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, and that it is prepared to cooperate with all countries in the region except the Greek Cypriot administration.
In May 2019, Turkish-flagged drillships began offshore drilling operations in areas off the coast of Cyprus. The areas fall entirely within the Turkish continental shelf registered with the United Nations and in permit licenses the Turkish government in previous years granted to Turkish Petroleum.
Ankara has on every occasion vowed it wants to see energy as an incentive for political resolution on the island and peace in the wider Mediterranean basin, not a catalyst for further tensions.
Turkey is a guarantor nation for the TRNC and has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
It is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with its drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, along with two other seismic vessels that are also operating in the region.
In 1974, following a coup aimed at the annexation of Cyprus by Greece, Ankara was forced to intervene as a guarantor power on the island. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece and the U.K. – came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
In the meantime, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with low oil prices, has affected exploration and drilling activities on the part of global oil companies and resulted in revisions or temporary suspensions to these programs, including those in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Energy giants ENI and Total postponed their proposed gas exploration operations in the Eastern Mediterranean for about a year on May 5, 2020. The companies notified the Greek Cypriot Administration about their decision to delay their drilling operations until March or April 2021.
The drilling programs of the French-Italian consortium were said to be postponed on the three wells planned for 2020 and six wells planned for the following two years.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, ENI and Total had earlier announced their plan to start exploratory drilling in what they called “Block 6” in early February.
ExxonMobil shelved its plans to drill off the coast of Cyprus as of April 13 in response to the outbreak and the subsequent chaos it sent rippling through international markets.
Tenders for renewables
Furthermore, Dönmez also divulged updated information on the Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA) tenders.
On Oct. 7, 2019, the minister had announced plans to hold YEKA tenders for solar energy in a new form, known as "mini YEKA," which were due to be held in the first half of 2020. However, the tender plans were postponed, but Dönmez said that a new meeting with industry representatives resulted in an agreement to finalize tenders in the third quarter of this year.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.