ENERGY: Turkey to start exploring for oil and gas off Cyprus in February

Turkish exploration vessels will begin offshore drilling activities around Cyprus in mid-February which is likely to cause tensions to rise in the East Mediterranean.

“We will protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots and take the necessary steps on the issue of natural gas, just as we do on other issues,” Turkish Cypriot energy official Ozdil Nami told Anadolu Agency.

Nami added that the Turkish Cypriots were always ready for energy cooperation with the Greek Cypriots.

But he said a proposal by Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades to hold the Turkish Cypriot share of hydrocarbon income in a fund until a solution is found was “irrational and illogical”.

He added: If the income from natural gas without a solution is deposited in a fund, no one should touch this fund. The Turkish side will show the necessary reaction to this.

“Turkey is the easiest, most economical and fastest route in transporting natural gas extracted in the eastern Mediterranean to Europe, Nami said, underlining Turkey’s “enormous” energy transportation infrastructure.

Ankara continues to oppose the sovereign right of the Cyprus government to explore for offshore energy wealth, despite the international community saying the Republic has every right to do so.

Anastasiades has made clear that the island’s natural riches belongs to all Cypriots and this should act as an incentive for reunification not bully-boy tactics by Turkey.

Source: The Financial Mirror