Italian energy giant ENI expects the results of exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ offshore Block 11, to determine its next drilling target within the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Sources told Cyprus News Agency that ENI was preparing for two drillings, which should be completed by the first quarter of 2018, but the targets had not yet been determined. The company wants first to evaluate the results of drilling by Total /ENI Consortium in Block 11.
The company has applied to secure all permits for drilling for three blocks, 8, 6 and 3 which include an environmental study, the offshore protocol and a licence from the department of labour for the safety of the drilling.
According to the same sources, the next drilling by ENI will take place between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, but the exact time has not yet been determined. However, by the end of the first quarter of 2018 two successive drillings should be carried out by the company.
The environment department has already posted on its website the environmental, social and health impact assessment study on exploration drilling in Eratosthenes South 1 in block 8, which is one of the potential targets. Similar studies are expected to follow soon for blocks 3 and 6.
According to ENI’s Environmental study the start of drilling activities is foreseen in the fourth quarter of 2017 for a total estimated duration of 36 consecutive days. The main objective of the drilling phase is to determine whether the prospects identified, during the seismic exploration contain hydrocarbons in commercial quantities.
The drilling operations will be performed through the ultra-deep water drilling ship Saipem 12000 supported by a logistic base located onshore, in the area of the Limassol port.
Blocks 8, in the Levantine Basin, is situated at a minimum distance from the Cyprus coastline of about 44 km. The block covers an overall surface of about 4,550 km2, with water depths varying from about 730m to 2560m. The lower value representsthe top of the Eratosthenes Seamount.
On January 2013 ENI International BV with Kogas (Eni 80 per cent – Kogas 20 per cent) signed the Exploration and Production Sharing Contracts with the Republic of Cyprus for blocks 2, 3 and 9. On February 2013 the cabinet approved the assignment and change of operator from ENI International BV to ENI Cyprus Ltd.
Two exploration wells were drilled by ENI Cyprus in 2014-2015 in block 9 and the activities were afterwards suspended. The EPSC for blocks 2, 3 and 9 were further extended to 2018 in order to allow for a better evaluation and recalibration of the geological model of the region and identification of new prospects.
In 2016 a further licensing round was announced by the ministry of energy. On December 2016, ENI Cyprus was selected for assignment of two blocks and is operator of blocks 6 and 8, with a share of 50 per cent (other 50 per cent share belonging to Total) in block 6 and a share of 100 per cent for block 8.
The expected overall planned activities in the Cypriot EEZ are two committed exploration wells in blocks 2, 3 and 9, one exploration well in new block 6 and two exploration wells (plus possibly one more) in new block 8.
Meanwhile Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak was quoted as saying that by the last quarter of this year Turkey will have acquired the means to carry out gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
Albayrak told daily Haberturk that his country will be intensifying oil and natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean as well as in the Black Sea.
He said Turkey intends to and will acquire a drilling platform, which they would deploy in the last quarter of 2017.
“We shall try out our luck. We must,” Albayrak was quoted as saying.
He did not specify where in the Mediterranean Turkey would be drilling.
Ankara currently lacks a drilling platform, but has made noises about purchasing one.
Turkey claims that part of Cyprus’ block 1, as well as the northern sections of blocks 4, 5, 6 and 7 fall within its continental shelf.
Ankara also supports the breakaway regime’s claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13, including within few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field.