Delivery of Turkey's third drillship, acquired from the U.K., is expected in a few weeks, according to Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez on Monday.
Speaking at the third Turkey Energy and Natural Resources Summit, Donmez said with the signing of the pact with the Tripoli-based Libyan government on Nov. 27 last year, the Eastern Mediterranean’s maritime jurisdiction zones have become clearer to enable further exploration in the region.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels Fatih and Yavuz, along with Oruc Reis and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic vessels in the same region.
As part of Turkey's Annual Presidential Program for 2020 announced on Nov. 4 last year, Turkey plans to conduct five offshore drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean this year, which Donmez said would be continued at pace.
The new drillship, which is due to start its journey in a few days, is likely to operate either in the Mediterranean or in the Black Sea where work has been suspended for a long time, Donmez said.
"The name of the drillship has not been decided yet. We will ask our president to decide on this,” he added.
In reference to the EastMed pipeline project, whose agreement was signed between Greece, Israel, and the Greek Cypriot administration on Jan. 1 to bring gas to Europe, he declared “the realization of the project is just a dream."
The project to build a 1,900-kilometer-long (1,180-mile) natural gas pipeline to run from Israel through Southern Cyprus, Crete, Greece and ultimately to Italy has no economic viability and lacks any legal justification for its existence, he explained.
-Pilot facility for lithium planned
The fast development of battery technologies for electric vehicles has thrown the development of lithium batteries into the spotlight.
China is leading development in this area, but Turkey also wants to avail of the positive preliminary findings in lithium, which can be found in boron – an abundant resource in the country.
The last quarter of 2020 is expected to see the establishment of a pilot production facility in Turkey to recycle lithium from boron production waste, Donmez said.
Through the boron production process, purified lithium in boron will be extracted for use as a raw material in the industrial sector, he elaborated.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu