ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Ankara said it aims to sign a deal with supermajor Royal Dutch Shell to explore for natural gas in the eastern waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said a deal with Shell for work in the Mediterranean provides the potential for broader work in the oil and natural gas sector on land and off the Turkish coast, Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman reports.
Shell announced Tuesday Baghdad backed an agreement between Shell and Mitsubishi Corp. to work together on natural gas development in the country through a venture dubbed Basra Gas Co.
Most of the natural gas in Iraq is flared because the country lacks the infrastructure to develop the resource.
"Capturing this gas will create a reliable supply of energy for Iraq while at the same time reducing greenhouse-gas emissions," Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said in a statement.
Ankara, meanwhile, said it was upset with a move by U.S. company Noble Energy to pursue similar natural gas activity off the Cyprus coast in the Mediterranean. Ankara has sent an exploration vessel to the region, which Today's Zaman reports raises the possibility of military confrontation in the region.
Cyprus has been divided into a Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied north since 1974. Ankara doesn't recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member.