Turkey’s hydrocarbon research ship Piri Reis has been Greeks’ nightmare for years. As Piri Reis has the bad habits to perform its research near Greece’s territorial waters, Athens expects another Turkish provocation near the island of Kastelorizo. Friday morning Piri Reis set sail from the port of Izmir for the Eastern Mediterranean waters to start oil and gas exploration, near the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus and with the aim to challenge the drilling of Noble, offshore and in the southeast of Cyprus.
Ankara became very upset against Cyprus and Israel for drilling in the so-called common project for hydrocarbon. Cyrpus’s drilling for oil and gas is been carried out by the US firm Noble Energy near Israel’s recently discovered offshore gas fields of Leviathan that contains more than 450 billion cubic meters (15.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. Deposits are also believed to lie inside Cypriot waters near the Israeli finds, which Cyprus is now exploring by licensing Noble Energy.
“Piri Reis will carry 10 people, including a geological engineer and a geophysics engineer, working for the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO). It is reportedly able to carry out two-dimension seismic surveys for 20 days. A few years ago, the vessel was used for a two-dimension seismic survey of Turkish territorial waters in the Mediterranean Sea.
On Wednesday, Turkey marked its marine borders with Turkish Cyprus for offshore oil and gas drilling in response to a similar move by the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot half of the divided island. Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said on Wednesday that Turkey would be exploring off the northern half of the island.
However, he added that some areas earmarked for exploration by Turkey “clashed” with those of the Greek Cypriot administration. He did not rule out future Turkish exploration in those areas.
The deal gives Turkey the green light to search for oil and gas within Turkish Cypriot waters. Turkey said it would send a vessel to the region to launch its own survey this week, adding the ship would be escorted by Turkish warships.” (source: Today’s Zaman)
Nevertheless, according to the Turkish Press, Ankara ordered three of its warships to sail in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. “One of them will be in Turkish territorial waters, just 6 nautical miles offshore the Cypriot side, so that the residents of Paphos can see the ship. The other two will patrol the area.” (Hurriyet via enet.gr)
Furthermore, the warship will not intervene in drilling Block 12 as this in not included in the agreement between Turkey and northern Cyprus, according to the Turkish newspapers that also added that the Norwegian Company Veritas from which Turkey leased a seismic research vessel for additional hydrocarbon research, has ‘no reservations about surveys south of Cyprus.’. The lease contract is allegedly $20 million.
Turkey’s PM Erdogan has said also he would blacklist any energy firms working with Cyprus on resource exploration projects and that Turkey would not use military force to deter Cyprus from drilling in the eastern Mediterranean. (World Politics Review).