Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s (TRNC) Economy and Energy Minister, Sunat Atun, stated that Turkey and TRNC have signed energy protocol that foresees the construction of an undersea electricity cable link between the two nations, Anadolu Agency reported.

The agreement came on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul. Atun added: “we hope to have the cable ready in 2017,” according to Daily Sabah.

Under the energy protocol, Turkey and TRNC agreed to collaborate on the renewal of electricity infrastructure, development of electricity supply security, the construction of interconnected system, mutual cooperation on renewable energy, and exploration of oil and natural gas resources.

Turkey and the TRNC had already signed another energy agreement in 2011, in which exploration and drilling activities took place in the eastern part of the island. However Atun explained that the project was delayed. He stated: “in 2014 it was decided that a well would be drilled in Güzelyurt district but the planned drilling was never realized since the project was not on the agenda of the government of that time.”

On the other hand, Southern Cyprus has granted authorization for assessments in many areas. The Greek Cypriot administration signed protocol with Egypt in August that would allow the construction of a gas pipeline below the Mediterranean sea. It also announced a tender for new hydrocarbon exploration offshore the long-divided Mediterranean Island in March . The call for bids, which concluded in June , was to award licenses for blocks 6, 8 and 10. ENI, Total, Statoil, Exxon Mobil, Qatar Petroleum, and Cairn’s declared their interests in the tender.