Cyprus is rich in natural gas, tensions between Turkey and Greece is rising as there are attempts to tap resources, which has a defense protection pact with the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government.
Turkey and Cyprus both have plans to carry out exploratory drills this year. Both have overlapping claims of marine jurisdiction. The vessel leased by ExxonMobil is already on its way to the island to drill for gas.
The scheduled arrival of The Stena IceMax drillship, flying a United Kingdom flag, was on Monday, November 12. Expected boring down into the seabed is to begin on or around November 15, at a location in offshore block 10 dubbed ‘Delfini’.
Ankara only has diplomatic relations with a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island that is not recognized by other countries.
Turkey’s complain last month was denied by Greece and Cyprus blames Turkey of rousing tension. Turkey had said a Greek frigate has harassed a Turkish exploration ship west of Cyprus.
Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Ankara, says any offshore wealth also belongs to its citizens, as partners in the establishment of the Cyprus Republic in 1960.
The island was split in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.