The “West Capella” drilling vessel contracted by France’s Total and Italy’s ENI moved into position to start exploring for gas off Greek
Cyprus on July 12, the island’s energy ministry said.
The drilling work, which is a contractual obligation between Total and Greek
Cyprus, comes days after the acrimonious collapse of talks to reunify the divided island nation, split between ethnic Greek
and Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey recently warned Greek
Cypriots not to make a grab for energy reserves around the divided island.
The “Onesiphoros West 1” well is estimated to be completed within approximately 75 days, Greek
Cyprus’s energy ministry said in a statement.
The two companies have licensing rights over the block, which lies about 6 km away from Zohr, a massive offshore Egyptian gas find made by ENI in 2015.
Last month Greek
Cyprus issued a Navtex advisory to inform shipping in the area that drilling work would run from July 10 until early October.
The drilling is expected to reach a maximum depth of around 4.25 kilometers (2.6 miles) below mean sea level, or 1.6 kilometers beneath the sea bed, the energy ministry said.