Italian energy giant ENI is expected to start three hydrocarbon exploratory wells in blocks three, six and eight in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on November 1.
The well in block 6 is a joint venture with French energy concern TOTAL and is in an area hotly contested by Turkey.
In July, Turkey sent its exploratory vessel Barbaros to block six to conduct seismic tests.
Turkey claims half of block six and continues to deny that it (block 6) is under the sovereignty of the Cyprus Republic, arguing that Cyprus does not have its own EEZ.
The plans were revealed when ENI submitted applications for the necessary licences from state services while its 600-page environmental impact study is expected to be submitted in September.
The drill site n block three has been named Soupia (Cuttlefish), the site in block six, Calypso and the drill site in block eight, Eratosthenis South 1.
The three wells are expected to be sunk using the sixth generation Saipem 12000 drill rig.
Each well is expected to take 36 days to drill and if everything goes according to plan, drilling in the contested block six will start just before the Cyprus Presidential Election in February 2018.
Drilling in block six is expected to reach about 3,300 metres below sea level in an area where the sea depth reaches 1,930 metres.
ENI programme according to the contract she has signed with the government in blocks two, three, six, eight and nine includes two compulsory exploratory wells in blocks two, three and nine, two (and perhaps an additional one) in block eight and one exploratory well in block six.
Eni has programmed 10 exploratory wells in total in the event of initial drills successfully detecting gas reserves.
According to sources, the Environmental Department is expected to green light the necessary environmental licences before the end of September which will signal the start of ENI’s drilling programme in the area.
ENI and Total are currently cooperating in hydrocarbon explorations in block 11 of the Cyprus EEZ.