Eni “determined to fulfil” its exploration obligations off Cyprus

Italian energy company Eni said it would fulfil its agreements with Cyprus to explore waters off the island, German news site Deutsche Welle said on its Turkish-language website. Turkish warships twice blocked Eni from carrying out exploratory drilling activity this year.

Eni’s deputy chairman, Lapo Pistelli said after meeting Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Rome that Eni was, "determined to fulfil its obligations arising from the contracts" it had signed.

Turkey is alone in recognising a breakaway Turkish Cypriot administration in the northern third of the island that it invaded in 1974. Ankara says the Turkish Cypriots should have a share in any energy wealth discovered offshore and a role in deciding how it is exploited and which companies are involved.

The Republic of Cyprus, internationally recognised as having sovereignty over the whole island, says the Turkish Cypriots will have a share of the resources after a political agreement to resolve the division of the island is reached and sees the potential wealth as a way to spur progress towards a deal.

Exploration vessels from both U.S. company ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum are currently in Cyprus, intending to carry out further drilling activities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken a strong stance against the planned drilling activities. “Tomorrow, maybe France with Total wants to do this job,” he said this month. “The U.S. might want to do the same with Exxon. But of course it is not possible to allow violation of our rights derived from international law."