Monday, April 02, 2018

Gas Fuels Tension in the Med

Since 2009, there hs been have made a series of large-scale gas discoveries in the Levant Basin, where the US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that 122 trillion cubic feet (3.5 trillion cubic meters) of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil lie under the seabed.

In recent months there was a major gas discovery, prompting Turkey to once again flex its muscles in the eastern Mediterranean. 

On February 8, Italy's Eni and France's Total announced a "promising gas discovery" at the Calypso block off the coast of Cyprus. Ankara claims to protect the interests of Turkish Cypriots on the divided island. In February, Turkish warships blocked Eni's drilling ship off Cyprus. Ankara has threatened to follow suit with any other exploratory vessels. Turkish Cypriots have granted exploratory rights to several blocks to Turkey's national oil company, Turkish Petroleum.

In late March, the European Council backed EU member Cyprus, calling on Turkey to "cease these actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law." The statement was swiftly rejected by Turkey.

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