The Total-Eni consortium’s drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will not begin in block 7, as had been initially thought, but in blocks that are more likely to yield results at this time, according to reports on Monday.
Sources from Cyprus said the French-Italian consortium will commence drilling in Block 7 at the end of 2020 or early 2021. Before that it will start conducting drilling activities in blocks 6 and 8, where it has more research data to work with.
A Cypriot government source told the island’s Sigma TV that “the consortium will launch new exploration work at the point or points that they consider will yield better results at this time.”
The decision has reportedly raised questions as to whether the consortium’s plans are the result of Turkey’s opposition to drilling activities in Block 7, whose sovereignty it disputes.
Despite repeated warnings by Cyprus, Greece and the European Union, Turkey has consistently engaged in violations of Cyprus’ EEZ, while its Yavuz drillship has been stationed in Block 7 over the last few weeks under the protection of a Turkish warship.
At an event last month in Rome, Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said he was not worried about Turkey’s moves but noted that “if someone turns up with warships, I won’t drill wells,” adding, “I certainly don’t want to start wars for wells.”