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    Turkish Drill-ship to Drill in Cyprus Block 9


Turkey is reminding the EU of its own plans for gas production in the eastern Mediterranean.

by: David O'Byrne

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Turkish Drill-ship to Drill in Cyprus Block 9

Turkey's drill-ship Yavuz will drill its next offshore well inside "License area G" – as defined by the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) – Turkey's foreign ministry announced January 19. 

"Licence area G" covers the northern two thirds of Cyprus' Block 9, which Cyprus claims lies within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), exploration rights for which Nicosia awarded to a consortium of Italy's Eni (80%) and Korea Gas Corp (20%) in 2013.

The ministry said that the Yavuz "proceeded to license area G" January 17 but did not confirm whether it had arrived.
Maritime tracking internet site Marine Traffic listed the Yavuz as "out of range" January 20, suggesting that the vessel's transponders may be switched off. 

The Eni-Kogas consortium drilled one exploration well in Block 9 in 2015 to a depth of 5,485 metres with Cyprus' energy ministry reporting that no exploitable reserves had been found. 

Last year Eni sold 20% of block 9 to French Total with the Cypriot ministry granting the French company a licence to drill an  exploration well in the block. To date Total has not announced any plans to drill in the block. 

The Yavuz, which belongs to Turkey's state upstream operator TPAO, last year drilled one well in the northern part of Cyprus' exploration block 7, for which Cyprus last year awarded exploration rights to a consortium of Eni and Total. 

Ankara does not recognise Cyprus' EEZ, claiming that the island lies on Turkey's continental shelf which would give Turkey rights to some areas south of the island. In addition Ankara recognises the claim of the TRNC to its own EEZ, covering areas to the north, northwest and east of the island. Neither claim has been validated and neither is recognised by the EU, of which Cyprus is a member.