Turkey balks on oil pipeline with Eni

March 28, 2013 at 6:50 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 28 (UPI) -- Turkey may end its relationship with Italian energy company Eni because of its work with the Cypriot government, the energy minister said.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Turkish energy company Calik may pull out of a deal to build the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The project includes Calik, Russian energy companies Rosneft and Transneft and Eni.

"I don't know whether Calık will find a new partner or not but we might suspend the project if they choose to continue their partnership with Eni," he told broadcaster CNN Turk.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the United Nations last year that any company dealing with Cyprus would be put on a government black list.

The Cypriot government has considering a financial assistance package that's tied to offshore natural gas reserves. It was unclear what involvement Eni had in those reserves.

Cyprus has been divided into a Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-occupied north since 1974. Turkey doesn't recognize the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union.

The Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline would carry as much as 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. The overland route of the pipeline would play a role in diminishing the environment impact and risks associated with tanker traffic in the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.

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