TPAO to start Cyprus drilling this summer
Turkey’s state-run upstream operator Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) will not start drilling in the waters around Cyprus before the summer and contrary to reports, the first well will not be drilled off the south coast.
Speaking to NewsBase Intelligence (NBI), TPAO’s Chairman and CEO explained that current plans are for a drillship to start drilling in the waters northwest of the island sometime in the summer.
Bilgin did not give a precise location but confirmed that it would not be south of the island as had been suggested last week by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
He did confirm that TP’s seismic survey ship Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha (right) is currently surveying south of Cyprus in the region where Blocks 8, 9 and 12 were allocated by the Cypriot government to Eni (8 and 9) and Noble Energy (12) respectively. However, he added that analysing seismic data was a lengthy process and would take some months at least before the results were clear. Bilgin said that once the survey ship had completed its work in this area it would move to the west of the island and continue its surveying work there.
The ship has been operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claimed by Cyprus since the middle of last year and previously surveyed in the area in 2015.
A second TP survey ship, the Oruc Reis has also surveyed offshore Cyprus in the past two years. The maritime zone to the northwest of Cyprus is within the area claimed by Turkey as part of its EEZ, whereas the area to the south east of Cyprus, including Blocks 8, 9 and part of Block 12, is claimed by the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.
Block 12 contains the Aphrodite gas field, which has estimated reserves of 127 bcm.