Turkey: First Drillship to Begin Operations in Eastern Mediterranean

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Stratfor.

What Happened: Turkey’s first drillship set sail for its drilling site, Alanya-1, located about 60 nautical miles off the coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, Bloomberg reported Oct. 30. Turkish warships accompanied the vessel that will operate on the drilling site for the next five months.

Why It Matters: Turkey has been trying to use oil and gas exploration to consolidate its maritime territorial claims in the Mediterranean Sea. While the drilling site will not be in contested waters and is located multiple miles north of Cyprus’ self-declared exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Turkey has promised to conduct drilling operations at additional locations in the future.

Background: Tensions between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean are high. ExxonMobil announced on Oct. 5 that it would begin drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ and Turkey announced that a seismic surveying ship would be conducting studies at a location that Greece claims lies on the Greek continental shelf.

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