By Betul Buke Karacin
Following the Cypriot government’s decision to start offshore gas drilling activities in the Mediterranean with U.S.-based energy firm Noble, Turkey strongly opposed this decision which undermines the rights of Turkish Cypriots. In response to Cypriot exploratory drilling, Turkey declared that it will start oil and gas exploration activities in its exclusionary economic zone, and has also recently carried out seismic research on that ground.
As a move in the wake of the exploration rights disputes between Greek Cyprus and Turkey, yesterday, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız declared that the Turkish state-run oil company (TPAO) is close to signing a deal with Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell for oil and gas exploration activities in the Mediterranean off the coastal city of Antalya.
He also informed that following the seismic research, according to results, the exploitation activities will be started. Shell will cover the investment costs and the oil will be shared on 50-50 terms.
The drilling will be held at a depth of 2,500 meters, and Shell will provide the essential drilling platform and also cover the exploration cost which amounts to nearly $300 million as well.
The final signing ceremony is planned to be held as soon as possible next week in Ankara.