* Iraqi deals despite tensions with Baghdad
* Turkey plans public offerings of state energy companies
* Ankara warns ENI over Cyprus exploration plans
By Orhan Coskun
ANKARA, Nov 2 Turkey has signed a $350 million
deal on drilling 40 oil wells in the southern Iraqi Basra area
and is in talks with Baghdad on drilling 7,000 wells across
Iraq, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday.
Details of the timeframe or companies involved were not
Turkey's growing energy involvement in Iraq comes despite
tensions with Baghdad over Ankara giving refuge to Iraq's
fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to
death by an Iraqi court for a second time on Thursday.
Iraq has also asked Turkey to stop attacking Kurdish rebel
forces sheltering across the border in northern Iraq, a Kurdish
autonomous region over which Baghdad has little control and with
which Ankara has forged close ties in recent years.
"We are continuing work with the central government on
opening 7,000 wells across Iraq as a whole," Yildiz told a news
conference in the Turkish capital.
He also told reporters talks were being held with the
Turkish treasury on holding initial public offerings (IPO) for
state-owned oil firm TPAO and state pipeline company Botas, with
a TPAO offering planned first.
Separately, Yildiz warned that the government would review
Italian energy firm ENI's investments in Turkey if it
went ahead with plans to explore for natural gas in Cyprus.
Cyprus said on Tuesday it would start negotiations with ENI,
South Korea's Kogas, France's Total and
Russia's Novatek on the potential development of
natural gas fields off the Mediterranean island.
Turkey, which has been at diplomatic loggerheads with Cyprus
for decades, claims the island has no authority to explore for
"If ENI becomes involved in exploration in southern Cyprus
we will sit down and think about its investments in Turkey,"
The negotiations would cover four offshore blocks lying
south and southeast of the island, and close to a gas find last
year for which U.S. based Noble Energy already has
Yildiz also said official Syrian sources have sought the
renewal of electricity supplies from the Turkish private sector
and said electricity could be supplied as a form of humanitarian
aid if the private sector renews its contracts with Turkish
He added that Turkey plans to produce 36 tonnes of gold in
2013 to meet half of its total gold imports. In 2011 as a whole,
gold imports amounted to 79.70 tonnes, almost doubling from
42.49 tonnes a year earlier.