Eni’s drillship blocked off Cyprus by Turkish warships

A Turkish military operation blocked the drillship Saipem 12000 belonging to Italian energy giant ENI in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Saipem 12000 rig was halted Saturday by a Turkish Navy ship while on its way to Block 6 to start its activity under a license provided by Cyprus. The drillship, owned by Italian ENI, was moving towards an area offshore Cyprus while was stopped by Turkish warships for the alleged reason of a zone occupied for military actions. The military operation followed the recent news by Eni announcing a promising gas discovery at the Calypso well, located in the Block 6, offshore Cyprus.

What was behind? Mainly economic reasons and the fear of the Turkish government to lose its control on the area. The Saipem 12000 so remains stationary awaiting directions and a diplomatic issue is about to explode. Nicosia tries to reassure. “We are managing the situation”, stressed today the president of the Cypriot Republic, Nicos Anastasiades.
The Italian foreign ministry is following the case “at the highest levels” and is in contact with the Italian embassies in Turkey and Cyprus while pursuing “all possible diplomatic steps to resolve the issue”.

Ankara is opposed to the activity, saying it affects natural resources of Turkish Cypriots on the north of the island. On Sunday, Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement saying: “Despite all our warnings, the Greek Cypriot Administration continues its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. It does so in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island.”

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