Turkey said Thursday it will start drilling for hydrocarbons using its own drillship in the Mediterranean later this year.
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Berat Albayrak said the country planned to start drilling in the area later this year or early in 2018.
Reports in Turkey said Turkey had acquired a drillship, the Deep Sea Metro 2, from South Korea. The total cost to start drilling will be $200m, the reports said.
However, Turkish Cypriot internet news outlet kibrisgazetesi reported that the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) office in the north said the ship had not been bought yet and the company’s search continued.
If it goes ahead eventually, the move is expected to fuel fresh tension with Cyprus whose sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone Ankara disputes.
Turkey does not recognize the Republic, nor therefore the latter’s jurisdiction over its EEZ, and considers that an agreement between Cyprus and Egypt delimiting their respective economic waters is null and void as far as Ankara is concerned.
In September 2001, Turkey and the breakaway regime in the north signed a continental shelf delimitation agreement.
Turkey’s claims on the island’s EEZ 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.