Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have made an offer to his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, to conduct joint drilling and exploration operations in Libya. The offer has apparently been accepted.
Following his participation in the NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan travelled to Azerbaijan where he met with President Aliyev. After visiting the Azeri-controlled region of Nagorno-Karabakh, captured by Azeri forces from Armenia last year with Turkish support, Erdogan is reported to have held a meeting with journalists in the capital Baku.
When asked whether Turkey and Azerbaijan have any plans to explore jointly for gas and oil in areas such as the Black Sea, Erdogan replied: "Just as we are together in the TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline] and TANAP [Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline], we can take such a step with my dear friend Ilham Aliyev in Libya."
Adding that he had made such an offer, Erdogan said that, "The same steps can be taken on refining [oil]."
Over the past few years, cooperation in the energy sector between Ankara and Baku has increased significantly, with pipelines such as TAP and TANAP having been constructed and made operational.
Last September, it was reported that Azerbaijan had become Turkey's top supplier of gas over the first eight months of 2020, and had surpassed both Russia and Iran in that respect. It was also revealed last year that Turkey's state gas grid operator Botaş would build a gas pipeline to supply the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan.
To have a new front in joint energy exploration in Libya, in addition to the moves made last year, is predicted by many to pose a challenge to Russia and Iran as the traditional energy suppliers in the region in the years ahead.