Greek pipeline doomed without Turkish consent – North Cyprus

The prime minister of breakaway Turkish Cypriot northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar, has said the planned pipeline to carry natural gas from reserves near the island to Europe was doomed unless Turkey gave its consent, the Energy Voice reported.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed a deal on Jan. 2 to build a pipeline that will carry gas from fields near the island across the Mediterranean to Europe, but Turkey says the route for its construction goes through its own continental shelf.

Tatar, the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot administration that controls the northern part of Cyprus, accused the mainly Greek Cypriot, internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus of committing a hostile act by working with Egypt and Israel on the pipeline project, but not Turkey.

Turkey, the only country to formally recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, rejects the exclusive economic zone marked out by the Greek Cypriot administration and says its efforts to drill around the island infringe on Turkish Cypriots’ rights to the island’s resources.

The Turkish government has sent its own drill ships to explore for hydrocarbons around Cyprus, and Turkish naval vessels have blocked international energy firms’ ships from drilling in the area.

Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding in November with the U.N.-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli that views the countries as maritime neighbours, placing a large swathe of the eastern Mediterranean under Turkey’s jurisdiction, including the path of the planned pipeline. The deal, which ignores Cypriot and Greek claims to a continental shelf in the sea, sparked outrage in Athens and Nicosia.

The plan to build the pipeline would cost between $6 billion and $7 billion and would carry an annual 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Europe, according to the deal between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

But the chances of developing the pipeline are slim due to a lack of clarity on financing and gas prices, the Energy Voice said.