A second Turkish drillship will begin drilling for oil and natural gas near Cyprus within a week, Turkey’s energy minister Fatih Donmez has said.
The move could exacerbate the ongoing conflict between Turkey and Cyprus, and the EU, over exploration rights.
In June EU leaders warned Turkey to end its gas drilling in disputed waters or face a response from the EU en masse. Greece and Cyprus pressurized other EU states to support them in their protests against what they see as Turkish infringement of the Cypriot EEZ. Turkey meanwhile claims that the state of Northern Cyprus, recognized by only Turkey, has rights to the sector.
Turkey already has a ship off Cyprus, which issued arrest warrants for its crew in June.
The second drilling ship, Yavuz (IMO 9503768) at the beginning of the week was at the port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies, Donmez told Turkish state news agency Anadolu.
“God willing, within a week Yavuz will begin drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, in Carpasia (peninsula), in the area where we have got a licence from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” said Donmez.
2011-built, Turkey-flagged, 51,283 gt Yavuz is owned and managed by Turkiye Petrolleri of Ankara, Turkey. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortakligi.