Turkey drillship plan requires caution, Cypriot official warns

A Turkish government plan to soon acquire a domestically built drillship poses a serious threat, a board member of the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC), has told energypress.

The official, Konstantinos Nikolaou, responding to questions, noted that the prospect of Turkey setting up a drilling platform in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) represents a far more serious threat than previous exploratory endeavors carried out by the neighbouring country’s Barbaros and Sismik survey vessels, which, he noted, caused temporary issues.

Greek and Cypriot authorties need to remain vigilant, Nikolaou stressed.

“Of course, this is not a plan that will be carried out tomorrow morning but is, nevertheless, a potentially heavy move and needs to confronted with corresponding seriousness,” Nikolaou pointed out.

Turkey’s energy and natural resources minister Berat Albayrak, in a recent newspaper interview, highlighted that this year, for the first time in Turkey’s history, the country will acquire a drillship.

The Turkish minister stated that one or two exploratory drilling efforts would be perfomed each year by the drillship “in coordination with Turkey’s Mediterranean and Black Sea strategies.”

Turkey also plans to conduct 2D and 3D surveys in both the Mediterranean and Black Sea this year, Albayrak stated. “Turkey is now entering a period during which more advanced endeavors need to be performed,” he noted.

Cypriot government official Nikos Hristodoulidis described the reappearance of Turkey’s Barbaros survey vessel at a region roughly 80 kilometers southwest of Paphos, where an underwater device was submerged into the ocean, as a provocative action.

Though the reaction in Nicosia has so far been restricted to the Barbaros moves and Turkey’s dispute of EEZ territories, the Cypriot government is taking seriously the threat posed by Turkey’s prospective drillship acquisition.