The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is ready to grant permission to Turkey for offshore oil exploration activities when required, TRNC's Economy and Energy Minister, Sunat Atun, said on Tuesday.
In a written statement, Atun said the TRNC was in talks with Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak about seismic data collection since the beginning of April. The talks are within the framework of the energy cooperation agreement between the TRNC and Turkey and under the 'oil field services and production sharing contract'.
Turkey and the TRNC signed an energy protocol on the sidelines of the 23rd World Energy Congress (WEC) on Oct. 11 last year that includes exploration of new oil and natural gas resources. The agreement foresees the construction of an undersea electricity cable link between the two countries, the renewal of electricity infrastructure, development of electricity supply security, the construction of an interconnected system, mutual cooperation on renewable energy and the application of regulations for the electricity sector.
The working sites for offshore seismic data collection activities, location map and coordinates list have been prepared, according to Atun.
He reminded that the Greek Cypriot administration left TRNC's suggestions unanswered on "leaving all oil exploration works after a possible settlement between the Northern and Southern sides on the island and on having subsequent cooperation in offshore exploration activities."
Atun argued that the Greek Cypriot administration behaves as if all the hydrocarbon resources around the island belongs to them and underlined that the administration continues to sign agreements with international oil companies and organize bid rounds in some blocks.
A delegation from Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum signed an agreement with the Greek Cypriot administration at the beginning of April to explore hydrocarbon in Block 10.
A consortium between ENI and Total also won the licensing for block 6 and ENI alone was awarded block 8 previously.
TRNC gave permission to Turkish Petroleum to economically develop resources through establishing an offshore oil platform, Atun said.
Stressing that the TRNC is determined to cooperate with Turkey, Atun explained that the TRNC gave permission to Turkey's first seismic exploration vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa to collect seismic data starting from April 20.
He confirmed that greater cooperation between the TRNC and Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources will ensue.
The Cyprus Island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after an Enosis-inspired 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish population, and the subsequent intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Despite the disputed status, the Greek Cypriot administration continued to unilaterally open new tenders for hydrocarbon explorations without any collaboration with the Turkish Cypriots.
Reporting by Murat Demirci in Lefkosa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Writing by Ebru Sengul