US oil giant ExxonMobil said it will send two energy research vessels into Cypriot waters, near where Turkey is blocking an Italian ship from preparing to drill for oil and gas and as tension remained high over the showdown.
That came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – a former CEO for the US company – was holding talks in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose relations with America were fraying fast as Turkey conducts military operations in Syria, near where US forces were patrolling.
ExxonMobil, ignoring Turkish warnings it would stop international oil companies licensed by the legitimate government on the island where Turkey has unlawfully occupied the northern third since a 1974 invasion and has demanded a share of any potentially lucrative findings from oil and gas.
The Italian company wants to reach Block 3 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) while ExxonMobil has Block 10 in waters which Turkey also claims and as it won’t recognize the Law of the Sea, except for citing it when needed to justify actions.
Cyprus Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis confirmed the US firm made contact with the government and would proceed, through its consortium with Qatar Petroleum, the Cyprus Mail said.
Reports said ExxonMobil was sending two vessels that include two special underwater robots to perform surveying work that will determine the precise spots where two drillings will take place after this summer.