A Turkish blockade of a ship that was hired by state-owned Italian oil company Eni to drill for gas off the Cyprus coast was a diplomatic issue that was out of the Italian oil company’s hands, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said on Friday February 16th. Last week the company’s Saipem 12000 drill ship was heading from southwest of Cyprus towards an area southeast of the island. The vessel was stopped by Turkish military ships on the grounds that there were “military activities” in the area to which the ship was heading. The ship was still halted on Saturday morning.
Speaking during a conference on Eni’s Q4 results, Descalzi said that Italy, Europe, France, Cyprus and Turkey were discussing the issue. “It’s not really under our control. He noted that the exploration well the ship was sailing towards was in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone. “It’s our third well in the area … We’ve had no problem with the other two,” Descalzi said. Turkey claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s EEZ fall into the jurisdiction of either Turkey or Turkish Cyprus.