Italian ship fails to drill for gas in the waters off Cyprus

emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

Italian energy company Eni's drillship was forced to halt its drilling activities off the Cyprus island Friday after allegedly facing Turkish resistance.

Eni said the Saipem 12000 vessel, which was sent to the area as part of Cyprus' offshore gas search deal then headed to Limassol where it is expected to stay for a few days. The ship would have to be moved in the coming days, probably to Morocco for other drilling obligations.

The energy firm said Thursday that planned drilling for the search of gas off the island could be put on hold until Turkey can be convinced to allow the company's rigs to explore gas near the site.

Deputy Government Spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos told the Cyprus News Agency that the ship was stopped by Turkish military vessels and said the Greek side would proceed with its energy plans.

Turkey said numerous times that it won't allow the Greek Cypriot government to proceed with a "unilateral" offshore gas search as long as the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the natural resources of the island are being ignored.

The Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

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