Turkey threatens to blacklist firms working with Cyprus on gas, oil

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to blacklist international oil and gas firms working with Cyprus on Mediterranean exploration, and stop them from participating in energy projects in Turkey.

Turkey?s Energy Ministry is drawing up sanctions on companies that meet the criteria, Erdogan said in televised comments from New York. The prime minister spoke Wednesday after signing a continental-shelf accord with northern Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that allows Turkish Cypriots to define and drill in waters surrounding the island.

Noble Energy Inc., a US company, started drilling Sept. 18 in Cyprus?s southern waters. Erdogan said Turkey?s agreement with northern Cyprus counters the Greek Cypriot decision to start exploration.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said the accord is against international law, NTV television reported. Turkey, which unlike Cyprus has neither signed nor ratified the United Nations convention on the Law of the Sea, says Cyprus is ?wrong? to explore for hydrocarbons, and Erdogan said Turkey?s navy and air force will monitor activities in the eastern Mediterranean.

The next step is to start exploring for oil and gas off the coast of northern Cyprus, to be led by state oil firm Turkiye Petrolleri AO, Turkey?s Foreign Ministry said.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. from the US, Brazil?s Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Norway?s Statoil ASA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are among companies that have offered to work with TPAO in Mediterranean drilling, Istanbul-based Sabah said yesterday. If TPAO decides on a partnership, the foreign company would meet all the drilling costs in exchange for a portion of the oil, the newspaper said. [Bloomberg]

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