Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz has begun oil and gas exploration near the northern tip of Cyprus, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez said, Trend reports citing Turkish media.
The minister noted that the wells were drilled to a depth of 1700 meters. He added that exploration work will last at least 2.5-3 months.
Earlier, the foreign ministers of EU member states approved sanctions against Turkey in connection with the exploration of hydrocarbon deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean. The sanction measures, among other things, include reduction in EU funding for Turkey and the termination of negotiations on an air service agreement.
At the same time, if Turkey continues to insist on its position, other sanctions may be applied, including restrictive measures against companies or individuals involved in the exploration of deposits.
On Monday, July 8, Turkey sent a second drilling vessel, Yavuz, to the Karpas Peninsula on the northern tip of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots issued a permit for the right to work in this area to the Turkish state oil company.
The EU criticized Turkey on July 16 for drilling plans in the area, warning that it was preparing “appropriate measures.”
However, the Turkish Minister of Energy Fatih Donmez said that the search for hydrocarbon reserves will continue. “We will carry out drilling activities based on our legal rights,” Donmez said.