Shell and Turkey sign oil, gas search deal

November 23, 2011 - 5:45 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell on Wednesday signed a deal with Turkish state-run petroleum company, TPAO, to search for oil and gas offshore in the Mediterranean and onshore in Turkey's southeast region.

The deal allows the companies to search for oil and natural gas and to produce and share any discoveries. Offshore search efforts will concentrate off the Mediterranean coast of Antalya.

"God willing, we will reach important signs and with these signs ... TPAO, will reach gas and oil discoveries," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

Turkey has recently carried out a seismic search for fuel sources in the Mediterranean in response to a Greek Cypriot search, which Turkey opposes on the ground that it undermines the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

U.S. firm Noble Energy has said that exploratory drilling off the coast of Cyprus may yield between 3 to 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Turkey and Greece also have long-running disputes over delineating the Mediterranean and Aegean seas for exploration.

Taner said however, the deal signed Wednesday was "technical work far from any political speculation."

"We hope that (the deal) will be beneficial to both our country and to Shell," Yildiz said.