Turkey Sends Exploration Ship to High Seas #Energy
Turkey officially joined the race to locate and exploit hydro-carbon deposits in Eastern Mediterranean by sending its state-of-the-art deep-sea drilling ship The Conqueror to contested waters around the contested island of Cyprus.
Greece shall protest loudly, jingoistic rhetoric will cover pages of print media, and eventually EU will ask Turkey to step back, raising the ire of nationalist.
But will there be any commercial gains at the end of the day?
Turkey’s first deep-sea drilling ship, flanked by Turkish war vessels, set sail Tuesday looking for natural gas and oil in contested waters of the Mediterranean, a launch liable to exacerbate longstanding tensions with Greece.
The Fatih, named after the conqueror of Constantinople, or modern-day Istanbul, will operate some 60 nautical miles off the Turkish coast in or around the disputed area. The Eastern Mediterranean has become a gas hot spot with big finds for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt in recent years, opine Selcan Hacaoglu and Constantine Courcoulas of Bloomberg.com.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said a Greek warship came dangerously close to a Turkish seismic survey ship, the Barbaros, on Oct. 18 but Turkey won’t let that happen again. Akar also threatened military action if Greece acts on plans to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean.
“We’re determined to protect the rights of the Turkish Republic as well as the Northern Turkish Cypriot Republic without any concessions,” he said. Turkey is the only country to recognize the so-called Northern Turkish Cypriot Republic. So-called is of course Bloomberg view. As far as Turks are concerned, the Greek Cypriote Republic of Cyprus, is “so-called” as well as “so-and-so” called.
Energy Minister Dönmez noted that other shallow drilling works with the Fatih vessel are planned in the Mersin region in southern Turkey next month, adding that Turkey is about to buy a second drill ship to ramp up exploration.
Turkey is almost completely reliant on imports to meet its energy needs and the fall of the Turkish Lira against the dollar this year has driven up that cost, putting pressure on energy companies to raise prices for consumers.
Speaking at a ceremony for the launch of the drilling ship “Fatih”, Dönmez said it would begin drilling at the Alanya-1 borehole, located 100 kilometres (60 miles) off the southern province of Antalya and 60 kilometres off Antalya’s Alanya district.
“Turkey has set its main goal as independence in energy,” Dönmez said. “We don’t have an eye on others’ resources, our only issue is to present to our people the riches within our territory.”
The first borehole will be some distance from the disputed territory, which lies further south and around Cyprus.