Prime Minister Irsen Kucuk of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said that Turkish Petroleum Corp. (TPAO) has begun seismic research by "Piri Reis" vessel on behalf of TRNC in the Mediterranean on Monday.
Releasing a statement, Kucuk said that geophysical research and seismic data collecting studies have begun today.
He did not give the exact location, but said the Piri Reis ship was working in "the AR/KKTC/G authorised zone". KKTC is the Turkish abbreviation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
A Greek Cypriot defence source said the Piri Reis was sailing in international waters south of the island earlier on Monday, about 80 km (50 miles) from the Noble Energy gas rig and between two plots Greek Cyprus has mapped out for future exploration. The Piri Reis left the Turkish Aegean port of Izmir on Sept. 23.
On September 21, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and TRNC President Dervis Eroglu signed in New York an agreement on the delineation of the continental shelf between two countries in the East Mediterranean following a Greek Cypriot move to start offshore drilling for natural gas and oil in the southeast of the Eastern Mediterranean island. On September 22, TRNC Council of Ministers gave exploration license to TPAO to explore oil and natural gas in the sea around Cyprus island.
Kucuk said that Turkish Cypriot side kept its constructive will to find solution to Cyprus problem as well as its determination to continue Cyprus negotiations.
Kucuk recalled that TRNC President Eroglu met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on September 24, and proposed to suspend oil and natural gas exploration until a comprehensive solution was found to Cyprus question or if Greek Cypriot administration insisted on oil exploration, then a committee shall be set up by the two sides in the island, and it shall decide how to share the richness that could be found after the explorations.
Unfortunately, Greek Cypriot side has not given a positive response yet, added Kucuk.
Thus, TPAO, by Piri Reis vessel, has begun geophysical research and seismic data collecting studies on behalf of TRNC on September 26, said Kucuk.
Named after worldwide famous Ottoman captain, geographer and cartographer Piri Reis, the vessel weighed anchor from the Urla Port in the western province of Izmir on Friday for East Mediterranean to explore oil and natural gas.
Built in Julius Diedrich shipyard in Germany in 1978, Piri Reis is able to carry out two-dimension seismic surveys for 20 days.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou spoke to Erdogan on Monday and called for "self-restraint and calm" in the gas dispute, Greek government spokesman Ilias Mosialos said.
"Unilateral actions that create problems in the region should be avoided", Mosialos quoted Papandreou as saying.
An official from Erdogan's office said Erdogan had told Papandreou it would be better if gas exploration and extraction took place after a peace settlement had been reached on the island, and said unilateral actions could harm negotiations.
The two discussed holding a high-level meeting on Cyprus, possibly between end-October and mid-November. They had been due to meet at last week's U.N. general assembly in New York but Papandreou stayed in Athens because of the debt crisis.
Greece, Turkey ties have warmed in the past decade after a long history of enmity.
Turkey disputes an Cypriot-Israeli accord signed last year to create exclusive economic zones in the waters between them.
It also says that only Greek Cyprus should not be exploiting natural resources until a settlement is reached between the Greek Cypriot government and a Turkish Cypriot government for the reunification of the island, and that any revenues should benefit both communities.
In retaliation, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot government signed their own continental shelf agreement on Wednesday, permitting state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) to start exploration north of the island.
Noble Energy says that the eastern Mediterranean gas finds have been the world's biggest deepwater gas discoveries in the last decade, with a total of at least 25 tcf of gross mean resources.
Cypriot leaders have been negotiating to reunify the island since 2008.
Last Mod: 27 Eylül 2011, 12:28