THE drilling ship “Saipem 12000” has completed its journey to Cyprus in preparation for an exploratory natural gas drilling on behalf of Italian ENI energy company.
“The ship is on target in block 6 and ready to put a drill on Kalypso field in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” an energy minister official said on condition of anonymity after returning from a visit to the drilling ship.
The ship anchored on Tuesday night over the drilling target and support ships that sailed from Larnaca with equipment and provisions.
Cypriot media reported that Turkish warships monitored the drilling ship from a distance.
Turkey, which does not recognize Cyprus since it occupied its northern part in a 1974 military operation in reaction to a coup inspired by the military rulers of Greece at the time, objects to hydrocarbon drilling, claiming that the estranged Turkish Cypriot community should be part of the process.
The exploratory drilling is expected to start in the next few days and is scheduled to end in about a month.
ENI’s chief executive Claudio Descalzi said recently that the company was optimistic about the prospects of discovering natural gas and this was the reason for investing 150 million euros (179 million U.S. dollars) in exploration.
After the drilling in block 6, ENI will carry out another exploration in a target in block 3 of Cyprus’s EEZ.