THE controversial Turkish survey vessel Barbaros is to conduct research again off the coast of Cyprus soon, an official in Ankara said on Friday.
The head of Turkey’s national petroleum company, Besim Şişman, told Anadolu press agency that the Barbaros will conduct important seismic research off the coast of Cyprus in the upcoming period.
He added that upon the completion of explorations, the company could drill off the coast of Cyprus. As such investments are expensive, he said, they are waiting for the oil prices to be corrected before they proceed with such a procedure.
The presence of the Barbaros in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in October 2014 caused the interruption of the settlement talks for around eight months as President Nicos Anastasiades withdrew in protest. Talks resumed in May 2015, following the vessel’s departure from the island’s EEZ in March.
The Turkish Cypriot side announced that the Barbaros was due to leave a day after the ENI-KOGAS drillship Sapiem10000 left the island’s EEZ.
The then ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami had said the Turkish Cypriot side was reciprocating for the departure of the Sapiem by sending the Barbaros back to Turkey because they did not want to give the Greek Cypriot side “any excuse” not to return to the negotiating table.
In August, Turkey had warned energy companies that had expressed interest during the third hydrocarbons licencing round in Cyprus’ EEZ for block 6 that any exploratory activity is unauthorised as part of the block lies within the Turkish continental shelf.
Last March, Turkey slammed the Cyprus government over the announcement of a third licencing round for natural gas exploration within the island’s EEZ. The Turkish foreign ministry had said that the “Greek Cypriot administration” was challenging the right of Turks on the island at a time when the two sides were negotiating reunification.
Turkey’s claims partly overlap with Cyprus’ blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7. Ankara also supports the breakaway regime’s claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13, including within few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field.