Turkey is demanding that oil and gas companies bidding for licenses to search for oil and gas off Cyprus withdraw their applications with the Greek Cypriot administration on the Mediterranean island, according to news agencies.
Several major companies, including Italy's ENI, France's Total and Malaysia's Petronas, are among 15 companies and consortia seeking licenses to carry out exploration off southern Cyprus.
Cairn Energy revealed Thursday in a trading statement to the London Stock Exchange that it was part of a consortium taking part in the current offshore Cyprus bidding round. Cairn, which holds a 40-percent share in the bidding consortium, is partnered with Marathon Oil Company (40%), CC Energy (10%) and Oranje-Nassau Energie (10%).
However, Turkey is reported to have threatened reprisals against companies involved on Friday.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, after Turkey invaded the north of the island. But only the southern, Greek Cypriot-controlled part of the island has an internationally-recognized government.
Turkey says any exploration would be an abuse of the rights of Turkish Cypriots to the same resources and it has retaliated by launching its own exploratory drilling in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
According to Dow Jones Newswires reports, Turkey's foreign ministry said: "Despite our warnings, companies cooperating with GKRY [the Greek Cypriot administration] on natural gas by ignoring the Turkish Cypriots' rights will cause tensions in the region and the companies in question will be responsible for it."
The foreign ministry is reported to have added that companies cooperating with the Greek Cypriot administration will not be included in energy projects in Turkey in the future.
Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report
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