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ENERGY: Turkey will start drilling for East Med gas within months

08 August, 2018

Turkey Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said Ankara will conduct its first exploratory drill for oil and gas in the Mediterranean in the coming months the same time as international exploration off Cyprus.

He did not clarify whether Turkey’s energy search would be in the same region where Cyprus, Egypt and Israel are also conducting drills.

Donmez said that Turkey has been carrying out seismic research in the Mediterranean for the past five years and noted that the data obtained during these surveys are “extremely important”.

“We have obtained a drilling platform. Within the next 1-2 months it will start drillings. We called it Fatih [conqueror]. Frankly speaking we expect to conquer our hydrocarbons reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean with this vessel,” said Donmez.

“We are optimistic. Many neighbouring countries in Eastern Mediterranean have found natural gas. Our data is also particularly good and positive.”

Turkey’s exploration drills are likely to coincide with those of ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum who are expected to carry out two exploratory drills between September – December in block 10 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

Donmez said Turkey’s first exploration drill will be in Antalya’s open sea within Turkey’s economic zone and the other off Mersin.

He reportedly said: “We want to search for and find this natural gas or oil wherever it is, in the mainland or in the sea”.

In February, Turkish warships blocked a drillship commissioned by Italian energy company ENI, from drilling in block 3 of Cyprus` EEZ.

Ankara has consistently warned foreign companies against drilling offshore Cyprus while the island’s division is unsolved.

So far Cyprus has carried out three licensing rounds, awarding exploration licences for eight of its 13 offshore blocks.

Texas-based Noble Energy in 2011 made the first discovery off Cyprus in the Aphrodite block estimated to contain around 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas – it has yet to be commercialised.

Cyprus has also issued exploration licenses to Italy’s ENI and France’s Total.

The discovery of nearby Egypt’s huge Zohr offshore reservoir in 2015 has stoked interest that Cypriot waters hold the same riches.