Samples obtained from oil and natural gas searches in the eastern Mediterranean have shown that there are significant natural gas reserves in the area, Minister of Economy and Energy Sunat Atun has said. He told Anatolia News Agency that Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) had been carrying out seismic surveys for oil and gas in the region since 2011. These were completed at the end of July, he said.
Atun said that as of the end of the year, drilling in shallow waters will start and next year, the process of extracting and exploiting gas in deeper seas will begin. Saying that they have drawn up a road map to this end, Atun said:
“There are three important features which we have adopted. One of these is the access to resources in our exclusive zone as the TRNC and exploiting these resources commercially. This will primarily ensure economic benefit for us and it is extremely important for our national income. Secondly, Turkey imports energy in big quantities. Cyprus’ natural resources are tantamount to Turkey’s national reserves. Therefore, the resources which will be extracted here will, within its own capacity, replace a part of the amount paid by Turkey in its energy imports. Thirdly, with the drilling platform, which we will establish in the area, will potentially pave the way for a pipeline. Therefore, this situation will give the TRNC a place in the local energy field”.
Atun added that with the pipeline, which will be built on the island, they could be connected to Ceyhan, which is an important energy trade centre. Thus they will be connected to the energy pipelines in the north-south and east-west of Turkey, he said, noting that this means marketing natural gas at “acceptable costs” both in Turkey and in various markets through Turkey.
Referring to the tenders, which the TRNC will invite in the fields of wind power and solar energy, Atun said that these will be launched in November and that the solar energy project will be a small beginning, producing 25 megawatts of electricity. He noted that the target is for this project to reach 70 megawatts within one year and added that the amount of electricity consumed in the TRNC is currently 400 megawatts and therefore the production of 70 megawatts of renewable energy will be tantamount to 18-20% of their total energy requirements.