Turkey is to take delivery of a second drillship to expand its hydrocarbons operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish Daily Sabah reported on Monday.
In October, Ankara sent its first-ever drillship Fatih to explore off the coast of Turkey as a counter-measure to planned drilling by Cyprus, which it has threatened to disrupt foreign energy companies drilling in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
According to the newspaper, the second drilling vessel purchased by Turkey is expected to arrive in Mediterranean waters by the end of January 2019, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez announced.
Donmez highlighted Turkey’s ongoing efforts in the exploration of hydrocarbon reserves on land and in its territorial waters as part of its national energy and mining policy that aims to ensure Turkey meets its energy needs from its own sources.
“We expect the second drilling vessel to arrive in the Mediterranean by the end of January . With this vessel, we will continue our drilling activities both in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” he said.
The minister did not specify the vessel’s name or port of origin. He said Turkey’s two seismic vessels, Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa and MTA Oruç Reis, were continuing seismic surveys in the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean, respectively.
Donmez said Turkey started its first deep-sea drilling offshore Antalya on the Mediterranean coast on October 30 with the Fatih. In addition to deep-sea drilling in Antalya, the ministry launched shallow water drilling offshore of Mersin in Mediterranean Turkey on November 26.
“Drilling operations are also ongoing in shallow waters off Mersin [in southern Turkey]. We will continue to explore [oil and gas reserves] in this region,” the minister added.
The Turkish minister repeated that no energy project could be implemented in the region without Turkey’s consent, adding the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and TurkStream natural gas pipeline projects had made Turkey a key country for Europe’s energy supply security.
TANA, went live in June, and stretches from the Turkish-Georgian border to the Turkish-Greek border to supply Caspian gas to both Turkey and Europe. Export to Europe is expected in 2020 upon completion of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will connect with TANAP at the Turkish-Greek border.
The TurkStream, on the other hand, runs through the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and consists of two 930-km lines each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres. The first line is intended for gas supplies to Turkish consumers, while the second is to supply gas to south and southeastern Europe. The pipeline, which is expected to proceed into Europe through Bulgaria, will become operational at the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, reports also said on Monday that the agreement for a Turkish naval base in Trikomo is scheduled to be signed in 2019 after the Turkish navy completed its technical work such as construction costs. The base is to be built on 280,000 hectares, and will also be able to receive frigates, submarines and aircraft carriers. The base will also employ 400 personnel from the Turkish navy.