Cyprus Mail

Exxon drilling due to re-start after delay, president says

The Stena IceMax

ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum’s drilling activities in block 10 will re-start before the weekend is over President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday, after reports said activity ceased for 10-days due to a technical difficulty.

In statements to CyBC, the president confirmed the technical issue, but added that it would be solved before long. “The essence is that the energy plans move forward in regards to the research stage,” Anastasiades said.

He added the agreement on the Aphrodite field in block 12 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) needed to be completed and that the cooperation of the companies working in the area and the states needed to be secured.

“The government’s hope is that the French company Total will also be involved in the other blocks.”

Regarding research in block 10, the president added that the research stage was advanced and that after drilling in the block’s Delphine target, a second drilling would be conducted in the block’s Glafcos target.

According to daily Politis, drilling at the Delphine target in block 10 ceased some 10 days ago after drill component was badly damaged.

If the technical problem had not occurred, the energy companies and the government may already have had indications on whether there was a natural gas deposit in Delphine, the daily said, as the drilling had reached a depth of approximately 3,000 metres below the seabed (5,000 metres from the surface of the sea). That is approximately the point where the seismic surveys that preceded the drilling placed the existence of the coral structure that could contain natural gas.

The Stena Icemax drillship leased by ExxonMobil started the exploratory deep-water drilling on November 16. The drilling was expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

Politis said that so far there was no information on when drilling would resume but that personnel and equipment were being transported from Limassol to the Stena IceMax drilling rig. This, it said, could be an indication that the drilling would resume soon.

Commenting on Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ EEZ, Anastasiades said that by keeping a low tone the government is making it clear that it never sought to usurp the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

He added that the government has not excluded Turkey as a country potentially interested in buying natural gas.  “What remains is the settlement of the Cyprus issue.”

The president said that with the settlement of the issue both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will benefit.  Regarding the mechanism to settle issues in the case of solution, the President said that without its existence no system can work.

“Where there is an impasse, there could potentially exist the option of appealing to a Constitutional Court, as is done in the United States.”

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