Turkey to launch oil exploration in East Med soon under pact with Libyan government

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Turkey’s first drilling vessel Fatih sails under July 15 Martyrs Bridge, formerly known as the Bosporus Bridge, as it leaves for the Black Sea, Istanbul, Turkey, May 29, 2020. (AA Photo)

Turkey may begin oil exploration in Eastern Mediterranean within 3-4 months as part of an agreement with the Libyan government, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said Friday.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Turkey’s first drillship Fatih oil-and-gas drilling ship to the Black Sea, Dönmez said Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), which had applied for an exploration permit in the Eastern Mediterranean, would begin operations in areas under its license after the process was completed.

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“Within the framework of the agreement we reached with Libya we will be able to start our oil exploration operations there within three to four months,” the minister said.

On Nov. 27, Ankara and Libya’s U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed two separate pacts, one that encompasses military cooperation and the other maritime boundaries of the two countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The maritime pact asserted Turkey’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.

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