Italy’s Eni to Divert Drillship Away From Cyprus Due to Turkey Standoff #CyprusGas
Italy’s Eni is diverting a drillship that had been preparing to explore for gas in Block 3 offshore Cyprus after a standoff with Turkish military vessels in the area, a company spokesman said Friday.
The Saipem 12000 was expected to drill the Cuttlefish-1 well in Block 3, but Eni has now opted to put the exploration on hold while a diplomatic solution over the dispute is sought.
The confrontation comes after Eni and its partner Total made a major gas find offshore Cyprus with the Calypso well, which reignited tensions with Turkey that believes its citizens in northern Cyprus have an equal right to the island’s offshore resources.
According to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow, the Saipem 12000 is now headed west away from the East Mediterranean.
Turkey’s energy minster Berak Albayrak on Thursday was cited in the Turkish media as saying Ankara would not allow “unilateral” exploration of Cyprus’ offshore.
Cyprus’ internationally recognized government, however, has pledged to continue exploration efforts in its waters.
Its president Nicos Anastasiades dismissed Turkey’s position in a strongly worded statement this week.
“Statements and rhetoric by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are unjustified and unfounded, and do not serve the best interests of the Cypriot people,” Anastasiades said.
“In this context, the planning of Cyprus in the field of energy will proceed accordingly. Our goal is to fully explore Cyprus’s hydrocarbon potential, in the best terms possible, so as to maximize the benefits for all the people of Cyprus,” he said.
He called on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community to “immediately respond” to his call to return to the negotiating table, “provided that this is preceded by the termination of the violation of the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone.”
Cyprus is likely to have at least 10 Tcf of gas in its waters, with the Aphrodite field holding an estimated 4.5 Tcf and the Calypso discovery said to be a 6-8 Tcf find.