|Active O&G Companies in Cyprus' declared EEZ|
The drilling rig West Capella is set to arrive at its designated drilling spot for hydrocarbon exploration in the Onisiforos-West 1 region of plot 11 in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone as scheduled at 3am on Wednesday morning.
What remains unknown is how Turkey will react to the arrival of the Total rig in light of recent statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Some energy companies are acting with, and becoming part of some irresponsible measures taken by, Greek Cypriots in exploration in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Erdogan in the presence of the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson was until a few months ago CEO of ExxonMobile and had contested and won exploratory rights in plot 10 of Cyprus’ EEZ.
Turkey challenges Cyprus’ jurisdiction to search for hydrocarbons stating that the hydrocarbon resources around Cyprus belong to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
State services are keeping a close eye on developments as is, France’s Total, that has commissioned the West Capella to start exploratory drilling.
Total has not shown signs of concern and said any change of the scheduled works will occur only if the safety of their employees is in jeopardy.
Expected reactions from Turkey is the declaration of an NAVTEX in Cyprus territorial waters – for research vessel Barbaros which is currently anchored in Sinifki Port in southern Turkey and can be in Cyprus territorial waters within 24 hours.
Also, as in previous drilling expeditions in Cyprus EEZ, it is possible that the Turkish Navy will make its presence known to the drilling crews in Onisiforos.
On arrival, West Capella will proceed to secure herself before lowering her drills to 1,698 metres to the seabed.
In the meantime, on-shore companies involved in the exploration such as EDT Offshore and Shoham and Halliburton are ready at Limassol port to offer support as are the two of the three support vessels, the British flagged Troms Hera and the Aldemir Souza. The third support vessel, Stephen Wallace Dick Tide is en-route from Malta.
The first scheduled flight of the drilling crews from Larnaca airport by helicopter is expected before the end of the week and will occur on a daily basis but with extended flying times and ‘windows’ for landing and take-off due to the increased flight traffic at Larnaca airport.