It will require a minimum of three years to be able to convey gas from the south’s Aphrodite gas field and Israel’s Leviathan field to Turkey and then onward to the world market, the general manager of Turkish Zorlu Energy Natural Gas Group said on Wednesday.
Zorlu Energy General Manager Fuat Celepci told Anadolu Agency that the private sector in Turkey expects progress in Mediterranean gas following the normalisation of relations between Turkey and Israel.
“The anticipated steps were taken between Turkey and Israel in the context of normalisation, but the Mediterranean gas is not just Israeli gas. We need to take concrete steps and bring it to world energy markets,” Celepci said.
He explained that the route to be used for the transfer of Israeli gas would pass through the exclusive economic area of south Cyprus.
“Depending on this, we may encounter some obstacles in the development of the planned project to bring Israeli gas to the Turkish and world markets. According to the United Nations Convention on Maritime Law, the Greek Cypriot administration has no right to say ‘no’ to this pipeline that will pass through its own exclusive economic zone,” he asserted.
However, Celepci noted that the approval of the environmental impact assessment report, which is required for the passage of the pipeline, will need to be obtained from the relevant institutions of south Cyprus.
“The Greek Cypriot administration has the authority to determine technical details and the route of the pipeline that plans to pass through its own exclusive economic zone,” he said.
He added that it is likely that changes may need to be made, including the route of the pipeline to carry the Israeli gas, which could lead to delays. He asserted that it appears impossible to progress the project without firstly resolving the existing problem between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and south Cyprus.
“Turkey’s goal on the island of Cyprus is to achieve a unitary administration in a federal structure with both southern and northern Cyprus along with the aim of both communities mutually benefitting from the natural gas resources offshore”, Celebci said.
“Even if the Greek Cypriot administration agrees to send this gas unilaterally, the TRNC has a share in the gas. It would not be acceptable for Turkey should this happen. Therefore, in addition to the normalisation process between Israel and Turkey, negotiations between the north and south need to be positively resolved”, Celepci concluded.