Turkey extends block on ENI rig through March 10

Commitments in Moroccan waters at risk, rental costs soaring

20 February, 20:13

    ISTANBUL - The Turkish Navy has extended through March 10 its Navtex notice of military activity off Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, which has been blocking passage for the past 10 days of the Saipem 12000, a drilling ship rented by ENI, Cypriot media said.

    The block has been preventing the ship from reaching the area planned for exploration through a license granted by the government in Nicosia.

    The previous notice was set to expire on Thursday.

    Nicosia has denounced the presence of the Turkish Navy in its "exclusive economic zone" as a violation of international law.

    Turkey, however, does not recognise the exclusive sovereignty of Cyprus and insists on the right of the Turkish-Cypriot community to divide the island's natural resources.

    In recent days, government sources in Nicosia said the Saipem 12000 wouldn't be able to remain waiting in the area if the Turkish naval block were to be extended, because it is committed to other activities planned off the coast of Morocco in the month of March.

    Based on estimates by industry professionals, costs to rent the drilling ship can reach a half-million euros per day.

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