Turkey’s first drillship set off to the Mediterranean on Thursday, as the country’s energy minister announced that Ankara would spud an offshore well this summer.
The drillship, dubbed Fatih (‘Conqueror’ in Turkish), formerly known as DeepSea Metro II, left a port in the gulf of Izmit, plotting a destination in the Mediterranean off Antalya, in the sea between Turkey and Cyprus.
Its estimated time of arrival at the destination was cited as June 3, according to the Marine Traffic website.
Speaking at the farewell ceremony, Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak said the ship would be carrying out its first drill at a depth of 2600 metres off Antalya.
“We are going forward into the future with greater security and with revolutionary steps in the energy field, Albayrak said, according to a translation of his remarks.
He said also that the drillship would be joined by a second vessel.
“We shall survey our seas in the Black Sea, inch by inch,” Albayrak said.
He went on to express the wish that “one day” Turkey would explore for oil in the Aegean and in the Sea of Marmara.
The Turkish survey ship Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa has carried out seismic surveys for hydrocarbon reserves between Cyprus and Turkey since early April.
Turkey has sought to block gas exploration by Cyprus, deploying warships and conducting military drills inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, drawing criticism from Greece, the European Union and the United States.
Back in February, Turkey warships off Cyprus physically blocked a drillship leased by Italian energy company ENI.
Turkey says exploration for potentially large gas reserves off Cyprus should take into account what it says are the rights of Turkish Cypriots in a breakaway state in the northern third of the island.