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Turkey to Start Oil, Gas Exploration on Northern Cyprus

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Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey will start oil and gas exploration in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus within two months, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

Turkey, which is looking for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean off the divided island, will start searching for oil and gas in the region of Farmagusta, Yildiz said in televised comments today. Turkey will start drilling after it reviews results from seismic studies conducted on land and sea, he said.

Cyprus has been split since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. The European Union, which only recognizes the Greek Cypriot south of Cyprus, has called on Turkey to recognize Cyprus and help resolve the ethnic division on the island, withholding parts of its membership talks.

Turkey will expand the area it’s exploring in and sign up a second partner following an agreement with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Yildiz said.

Turkey is shifting energy exploration to the Mediterranean from the Black Sea, Yildiz said. Exploration is conducted in accordance with international law, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emre Peker in Ankara at epeker2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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