Friday, February 09, 2018

Turkey, Egypt Clash Over Gas Exploration Rights in Eastern Mediterranean

hypergigantic Zohr reserve
Tensions between Cairo and Ankara remerged this week after Turkey’s foreign minister announced that oil exploration projects would start in the eastern Mediterranean Sea where Cyprus and Egypt have already divided up the rights.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a February 7 statement that the Turks would be "rejected and would be confronted." In 2015, the Italian firm Eni was credited with the discovery of the Zohr gas field, which the company has said is the largest gas field in the Mediterranean and could double Egypt's gas reserves.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has decided the Cairo-Nicosia deal signed in 2013 is invalid and as such Turkey is determined to find black gold in the region's water, according to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. Speaking with a Greek news outlet on Sunday, Cavusoglu accused Greek-Cypriots of carrying out "unilateral hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean… Turkish Cypriots, as co-owners of the island, have inalienable rights to the natural resources around it." In the minister's eyes, the 2003 agreement is "null and void."

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