The chief executive of Italian energy firm Eni said Thursday his company will not go ahead with any gas drilling in Mediterranean waters off Cyprus if warships approach the area.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi as saying he doesn't want "to have a war break out to drill wells."
"I am not worried... (but) if someone turns up with warships, I won't drill wells," Claudio Descalzi said. "I certainly don't want to start wars for wells," he told journalists on the sidelines of an Eni event in Rome.
Turkey's two drilling vessels, the Yavuz and the Fatih, are in the region continuing hydrocarbon exploration activities. Yavuz resumed operations last week to drill well in Güzelyurt-1 location in the offshore of the island of Cyprus.
In disregard of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots living in the northern part of the island, the Greek Cypriot administration signed agreements with French Total and Italian ENI for the offshore hydrocarbon exploration within Block 7. The deal made the French and Italian companies the biggest players in natural resource exploration on the island. Eni and Total have teamed up to expand their oil and gas search off Cyprus island and currently hold licenses for seven of 13 blocks unilaterally discussed by the Greek Cypriot administration.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry severely criticized the unilateral moves of the Greek Cypriot administration and underscored that a section of the so-called license area number 7 remains within the Turkish continental shelf, which has been registered with the U.N. In February 2018, Turkish warships blocked a drillship leased by Eni to drill an exploratory well in another area around the island.
Turkey has persistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. The unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Greek Cypriot administration violates part of Turkey's shelf, particularly in Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The TRNC was established in 1983 on the northern one-third of the island, and is only recognized by Turkey and faces a longstanding embargo on commerce, transportation and culture. The Greek Cypriot administration enjoys recognition by the international community as the Republic of Cyprus, established in 1960, and acceded into the EU on May 1, 2004, only days after the April 24 referendum to end the breakaway and isolation of Turkish Cyprus – which was rejected by 76% of Greek Cypriot voters and accepted by 65% of Turkish Cypriot voters.
The accession of Greek Cyprus to the EU violated the EU's own rules of not allowing candidate countries with border disputes and assurances to Turkey and Turkish Cypriots that the Cypriot accession would not take place until a permanent solution had been reached on the island.
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