Al-Monitor: Turkey to purchase fourth drilling ship to expand energy projects

16 February 2021
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Turkey’s state-owned oil and gas company has made a preliminary agreement to purchase a new drilling vessel to accelerate energy prospecting activities in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, according to Turkish media.

The Turkish Petroleum Corp. is finalizing a deal to acquire a deep-water drilling vessel from Dolphin Drilling, a Norwegian rig company, for a yet-to-be disclosed sum, the media said.

The purchase would add a fourth drilling ship to the company’s fleet, which includes two additional seismic exploration vessels, and comes after a year marked by maritime boundary disputes in the eastern Mediterranean stemming from Turkish energy prospecting activities in areas claimed by Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkey largely suspended its energy projects in the eastern Mediterranean after EU leaders agreed in December to draw up sanctions over the nation’s activities and Ankara resumed high-level talks with Athens to de-escalate tensions in January.

The developments drew praise from German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a recent call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, yet the purchase of a new drilling vessel has raised concerns territorial disputes could resume in the region.

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