Turkey halts energy deals with Italian Eni over Greek Cyprus dispute

Wed 27 Mar 2013 06:41 GMT | 10:41 Local Time

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Turkey suspends Italy's ENI over Greek Cyprus gas plans.

Turkey says it has suspended current operations and new investments by the Italian energy company ENI inside the country because the firm has gone ahead with plans to explore for natural gas in Greek Cyprus.

Turkey, which has been at diplomatic loggerheads with Greek Cyprus for decades, claims the administration has no authority to explore for gas offshore. Ankara had earlier warned ENI it would review the Italian energy firm's investments in Turkey.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters on Wednesday in Ankara that “Ankara has decided to halt cooperation with ENI” over the disputed plans for the development of natural gas fields off the Mediterranean island. “Çalık Holding and ENI are partners in a proposed Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline that would pump Russian oil from Turkey's Black Sea coast to the Mediterranean. Çalık will make their own decision on whether to continue with the Italian firm but the government does not prefer to work with them on any project,” he asserted.

Significant natural gas discoveries have been reported over the past three years in the eastern Mediterranean Basin and in cooperation with some international energy firms, Greek Cyprus expects gas exports to commence by 2018.

In January, Turkey blocked the membership of Greek Cyprus in the council of an international renewable energy body due to its strained relationship with the small nation.

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