TPAO to Begin Drilling in Cyprus Later This Month
The announcement follows the undertaking of seismic studies for the company which plans to begin drilling work in the Cypriot section of the Mediterranean Sea in as soon as days.
"We're starting drilling in northern Cyprus in the coming days," chief executive Mehmet Uysal told Reuters. "We have started shipping our equipment there."
A move of this sort could enflame already strained tensions between the two countries who have a history of conflict. Turkey has in the past few months reacted negatively to Cypriot efforts to locate gas in its waters, moving a research vessel into the waters in response to Noble Energy's exploration efforts in the water. Noble later hit massive gas reserves in the water of between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet.
Mr. Uysal displayed an awareness that the company's activities could impede on other licence areas saying, "If there is a need to drill in areas where the licences clash, then we would take all measures." He did not say what these measures were likely to be.
However, he said that the company was looking for a peaceful process throughout the drilling process, hinting that a peaceful process would be beneficial to all parties.
"We're hoping this will be a peace project because Turkey is the main outlet for this gas," he told Reuters. "All these companies drilling will have to send the gas to Europe and Turkey is the main route."