Turkey has launched it first drilling for oil and gas in East Mediterranean, a move to spark new tensions with neighboring Greece and Cyprus.
Right at the drilling start on Wednesday, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez warned Greece and Cyprus saying “We will do everything necessary if the ship is been harassed.”
Speaking to state-news agency Anadoly, Dönmez said right now there is no danger but if our ship is being harassed our navy will take the necessary measures.”
At a ceremony for the launch of drilling via the vessel “Fatih,” a day earlier, Donmez said the ship will begin drilling at the Alanya-1 borehole, located 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the southern province of Antalya and 60 kilometers off Antalya’s Alanya district.
Turkey’s first drilling vessel was named after Istanbul’s conqueror Ottoman Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Fatih has a length of 229 meters (751 feet) and is capable of drilling to a maximum depth of 40,000 feet. It is scheduled to conduct deep-sea drilling operations off Antalya’s shores. The ship is equipped with the cutting-edge technological equipment and is able to drill up to 12,000 meters. The first drilling well will reach 2,600 meters in depth.
“Turkey has set its main goal as independence in energy,” Dönmez said stressing the country’s ambitions to become a global player in oil and gas drilling activities..
“We don’t have an eye on the resources of others; our only issue is to present to our people the riches within our territory,” he said.
Attempts to tap gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean, along with a dispute over Greece’s maritime borders, have recently caused friction between Athens and Ankara.
Turkey and the Greek Cypriot government in Cyprus have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
The first borehole will be some distance from the disputed territory, which lies further south and around Cyprus.
Turkey is already undertaking oil and gas exploration using two seismic vessels.
Turkey’s first seismic vessel, Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, has been conducting exploration operations in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
Ten days ago, tension between Ankara and Athens rose when the Barboros seemed determined to enter the Greek contraindicate shelf without authorization. It turned out it was a provocation from the side of Ankara to check how far it can dare to go with Athens.