Cyprus & World News

ENERGY: Ankara warns international giants from exploiting Cyprus gas

05 October, 2018

Ankara has warned international energy companies not to bid for an exploration license in block 7 offshore Cyprus, claiming it belongs to Turkey.

Turkey has reacted angrily to a decision by Nicosia to invite energy giants Total, ENI and ExxonMobil to bid for a new license to exploit oil and gas in block 7 of its exclusive economic zone.

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry advised “companies that might be interested in participating in the tender to act with common sense and to duly consider the realities on the ground”.

Ankara claims that an “important segment” of block 7 “remains within the outer limits of Turkey's continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, as has been registered with the UN”.

The foreign ministry also let it be known that Turkey would be conducting its own exploratory drilling in the same region and any other activity can only be conducted with its permission.

It said that the decision by Nicosia “is proof that the equal rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot side with regard to the island’s natural resources continue to be ignored and disregards the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side has political equality and co-ownership of the island”.

Ankara said it will continue to take all the necessary measures to protect its rights and will not allow any third party to conduct exploratory activities for the development of hydrocarbon fields in the region.

“Turkey has never allowed and will never allow any foreign country, company or ship to conduct unauthorized research activities regarding natural resources within its maritime jurisdiction areas,” said the foreign ministry.

“Turkey will continue to take necessary measures, and will maintain all initiatives and activities, including drilling exercises, with a view to protecting its rights and interests in its continental shelf,” it added.

Cyprus government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Nicosia would continue its energy search as planned and on the basis of international law.

He told CNA “no comment was necessary” in relation to the announcement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The Cypriot cabinet on Wednesday decided to invite companies that already have exploration licenses for other blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ to bid for block 7.