Turkey may begin oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean
Turkey may begin oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean in a few months, under an agreement signed with Libya that has been condemned by others in the region, including Greece, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said Friday.
Libya's globally respected National Accord Government (GNA) concluded last year's maritime delimitation agreement.
Turkey claims it is establishing an exclusive economic zone from its southern coast to the northeastern coast of Libya, and is securing mineral rights.
Greece, Cyprus and others oppose the agreement and call it illegal, Ankara has dismissed the accusation. The European Union is also opposed to the maritime agreement signed in accordance with an agreement for Turkey to provide military assistance to the GNA, which has been fighting for more than a year in eastern Libya.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Turkey's Fatih oil-and - gas drilling ship to the Black Sea, Donmez stated that Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), which had applied for an Eastern Mediterranean exploration permit, would start operations in areas under its license after the process was completed.
"Within the framework of the agreement we reached with Libya we will be able to start our oil exploration operations there within three to four months," Donmez said.
The new Kanuni drill ship from Turkey will also go into the Mediterranean later this year, he added.
The move could intensify more tensions in the region, where Turkey has been at loggerheads with Greece , Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over natural resource rights for years.
Turkey could also face potential sanctions from the EU over its operations.
Maritime Business World