Turkey to tender oil exploration licenses in April

Mar 30, 2007 02:00 AM

Turkey said it would launch tenders in April for oil and gas exploration off its Mediterranean coast, an apparent response to a similar move by Cyprus.
"Next month, we will launch the farm-out process for licenses we have for (areas off) Antalya, Mersin and the Gulf of Iskenderun... We are now preparing the technical groundwork," Ahmet Faruk Oner, a senior official at the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) was quoted as saying. "It means we will start looking for partners for the licenses," he said. "We will begin the announcements next month."

Oner explained that the licenses covered areas in Turkey's 12-mile territorial waters and some areas "a little beyond." Even though officials have denied any link, Turkey's move follows a spat over oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean with Cyprus, whose internationally recognised government Ankara does not recognise.
Cyprus signed an agreement with Lebanon in January for the delineation of an undersea border to facilitate future oil and gas exploration, following similar accords with Egypt last year.

Turkey strongly warned Egypt and Lebanon in February that the deals infringed on the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and their breakaway statelet in the north of the island. Ankara also maintained that it had rights and interests in the region and was determined to protect them.
Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974 when Turkey occupied the Turkish Cypriot-populated north in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup seeking to unite the island with Greece.

Source / AFP
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