The state-owned Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) has added another drilling vessel to its fleet by an auction, Istanbul-based maritime magazine Denizcilik Dergisi said on Saturday.
“The 228-meter-long drilling ship’s carrying capacity is nearly 62,000 tons and its current draught is reported to be 12 meters. It has a rated water depth of 3,000 meters and a drilling depth capacity of up to 11,400 meters,” Denizcilik Dergisi said, adding that the maximum drilling depth capability of Turkey’s first two drilling vessels in operation, Fatih and Yavuz, is around 12,000 meters.
Turkey’s deployment of vessels to search for oil and gas in the region has sparked a dispute with Greek Cyprus while prompting the EU to hit Ankara with sanctions.
Gas drilling vessels Fatih and Yavuz have operated inside Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) since May. Turkey has sent two warships to the region to escort the drilling vessels.
Turkey maintains that the Turkish Cypriots has a right to a share the revenue from natural gas reserves off Cyprus, while the Cypriot government says the matter will be resolved after a peace deal is established in the divided island.
Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) partially overlaps with Turkey’s continental shelf, according to Ankara.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.