Fatih vessel to carry out drilling work in Black Sea after May 29: Erdoğan
“Our Fatih drilling ship will cross the Bosphorus on 29 May and go to the Black Sea for a new drilling,” he said on May 27.
He said other countries were uneasy with Turkey’s drilling activities in the Mediterranean.
Erdoğan slammed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and accused it of being “more intolerant than opponent countries.”
The country will continue with its business plan in the Mediterranean as scheduled, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said on May 14 and specified that deep drilling would start in July with Fatih for the first time in the Black Sea.
The minister also said the new destination of Fatih will be the Black Sea after it completes technical preparations in Istanbul, adding that they took all measures to protect their ship crew against COVID-19. The 229-meter-long (751-foot) vessel which weighs 5,283 gross tons is capable of drilling to a maximum depth of 40,000 feet.
The Fatih vessel, which is being used by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), had been in drilling activities in the Mediterranean.
In May 2019, Turkish-flagged drilling vessels began offshore drilling operations in areas off the coast of Cyprus.
Turkey, a guarantor nation for Cyprus, carries out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean with its drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, along with other seismic vessels that are also operating in the same region. Most recently, Turkey sent its third drilling ship Kanuni to the southern province of Mersin in March.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting that Turkish Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.
International actors in the region have lost appetite after the collapse in oil prices.
U.S. company ExxonMobil has put its drilling plans off the shore of Cyprus on hold from April 13 because of unpredictability in international markets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The drilling programs of a consortium formed by the Italian company ENI and French company Total have also been postponed for the planned three wells in 2020 and six wells in the following two years.