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    Turkey Starts Drilling East of Cyprus


It will take several months to find out if the well iin disputed waters is a success, while above surface, the Turkey-EU drama continues.

by: David O'Byrne

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Turkey Starts Drilling East of Cyprus

Turkey has begun drilling east of Cyprus, in waters claimed as part of the maritime zone of EU member Cyprus, Turkey's energy ministry confirmed August 7.

The ministry said that the drill ship Yavuz belonging to Turkey's state oil company TPAO had begun drilling its Karpaz-1 well in the Bay of Famagusta. It had drilled to a depth of 710 metres and is expected to continue for between two and a half to three months, to a depth of over 3,000 metres, the statement said. 

Ankara early last month confirmed that Yavuz had arrived at its planned drill site but has not previously commented on the drilling. The statement did not state what is planned for the Yavuz once the well has been completed. However the statement quoted Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez as confirming that TPAO's seismic survey vessel is currently surveying south of the island in areas claimed by the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) and that it will be joined this month by a second Turkish survey vessel, the MTA Oruc Reis

Turkey's Cyprus drilling campaign began in May when TPAO drilling vessel Fatih began drilling north west of the island, with the Yavuz taking up position east of the island early last month. 

Ankara's move has angered Brussels with the European Council last month announcing that it would impose limited sanctions against Turkey warning of more serious sanctions to follow. 

The European Investment Bank late July confirmed to NGW that in response to request from the European Council it would subject existing loans to Turkey new levels of scrutiny. The EIB confirmed that its $600mn in loans to Turkey's state gas transmission operator for its commitment to the 31bn m³/yr Azeri-Turkish TransAnatolian Pipeline (Tanap) will be reviewed in the autumn and that payment could be delayed. 

Separately the TRNC announced July 7 that the TRNC president Mustafa Akinci will meet with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Anastasiades on August 9. The TRNC called on the Cypriot government to re-evaluate the offer made by Akinci last month for the establishment of a joint committee to manage the divided island's mineral resources for the benefit of both the Turkish and Greek communities.