Turkish-Cypriot leader makes gas exploration plans

Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said late on Tuesday he would present a new plan to the UN secretary-general for gas explorations surrounding the divided island, resources that could change its economic landscape.

?I am planning to present a plan to the secretary-general, a proposal, a new one on the gas exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves,? Eroglu said through a translator of his scheduled Saturday meeting with Ban Ki-moon.

Eroglu, speaking in the unrecognized nation?s offices housed within Turkey?s mission to the United Nations, would not provide details when pressed about his ideas.

The Turkish Cypriots signed an agreement with the state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation, or TPAO, in April to launch onshore exploratory drilling.

In the next five or six months, TPAO is expected to start drilling offshore to see if it can find gas deep in the Eastern Mediterranean, said Eroglu, who was in New York for the United National General Assembly meeting.

Turkey was outraged last year when the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, led by Dimitris Christofias, licensed Texas-based Noble Energy to explore an offshore block for natural gas in what it said was one of the biggest finds in years.

?I have already warned Mr Christofias at the table that if you start your drilling activities, then we will engage in our own drilling activities in the waters around Cyprus,? Eroglu said. [Reuters]

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