Turkey said it hasn’t discovered natural gas in the Mediterranean off its coast or near Cyprus, where it has sent a research vessel after contesting the government’s right to license drilling to foreign companies.
“If, Allah willing, we should one day find natural gas or oil, I will be the first to announce it,” Energy Minister Berat Albayrak reportedly told an energy conference in Turkey, the Cyprus Mail said. “The news will be announced by us, not through gossip,” he added.
Albayrak was alluding to reports in the Greek Cypriot media claiming the discovery of natural gas field located between southern Turkey and the northern coast of Cyprus.
According to daily Phileleftheros, the data was obtained by the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic survey vessel. The same report said a newly-acquired drilling vessel of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), the Deep Sea Metro II, would arrive in the area in the first months of 2018.
Despite protests by the Cypriot government, Albayrak said Turkey would be drilling for gas in the Mediterranean in 2018.
“This is a nuisance to some. It bothers them so much that even before we have conducted (exploratory) drilling, some are writing that the Turks have found natural gas. “We know what is behind these politically-guided reports generated by the media,” he added.
According to a convenience translation of his remarks, Albrayrak said: “No one should consider the Mediterranean, the territorial waters, as their own wealth. Turkey shall carry out these explorations, seismic activities and drillings, either according to international law or through licensing from the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.’”