Israeli and Turkish fighter jets almost clashed today since the planes were only flying at a distance of some 70 miles from one another and armed with AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles! The Turkish planes were apparently taking part in sea exercises just 50 kilometers from where Nobel Energy has begun drilling for national gas (or Plot 12) while the Israeli planes were only a further 20 miles away. It was a situation that was indeed too close for comfort, since both parties detected each others planes on their radars.
The Turks used KC-135 air tankers in order to get to Plot 12, while the Israeli jets communicated via Link with the UAV that patrols around the platform of the rig, while they were being also supported by an electronic warfare. Turkey used a pre-existing A69 corvette that was already in the region, an O. H. Perry frigate and eight F-16s. Defencenet.gr said that the exercises lasted for about two hours and then both parties (and after the incident ended) departed quietly.
Turning to other issues, it looks like Turkey is presently in a diplomatic and geostrategic impasse with all its bullying in the Eastern Mediterranean since it is trying to influence Washington to change its stance on the subject of Cyprus’ EEZ. On Monday Nobel Energy, said that they are aware of the situation in the Mediterranean, but they will proceed with their drilling plans. An article in the Turkish Sabah newspaper on Tuesday said that drilling is expected to begin within days, even within a week, depending on how long it takes to prepare the rig.
Apparently Plot 12 contains an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and analysts at IHS said in a research note that Turkey has said that any drilling in Cyprus’s offshore will force it and its partners in Northern Cyprus to delineate an agreement on the EEZ of the north of the island, which could see competing claims for acreage and further threats of naval deployments, with the potential for escalation without early outside mediation.
Specifically the article in SABAH said: The Cyprus A gas field, also known as Aphrodite, contains an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves, according to Cypriot energy officials. Noble Energy firm on the end-September schedule for drilling, with major resources at stake as well as a point of principle over the sovereign rights of the Cypriot government to operate as it sees fit in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” analysts at IHS said in a research note. But IHS added that “Turkey has said that any drilling in Cyprus’s offshore will force it and its partners in Northern Cyprus to delineate an agreement on the EEZ of the north of the island, which could see competing claims for acreage and further threats of naval deployments, with the potential for escalation without early outside mediation. The two countries and their main corporate partners, Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group, are in well advanced consultations to jointly access energy reserves. Noble Energy says that the eastern Mediterranean gas finds have been the world’s biggest deepwater gas discoveries in the last decade, with a total of at least 25 tcf of gross mean resources. Based on recent exploration, Noble Energy achieved “four consecutive successes based on geologic model and 3D interpretation,” the company said in a presentation in September. SABAH“