Turkey may be planning new drilling in Mediterranean in early July

Turkey’s newly purchased drill ship, which is expected to arrive in the country in the coming days, will be ready to explore for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean in two months, said Melih Han Bilgin, the chairman of the state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).

The ship, which will become Turkey’s fourth drilling vessel, will undergo preparations at the southern Taşucu port for approximately two months, Bilgin said during a parliamentary committee meeting on Tuesday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“It will be ready for its Mediterranean mission by the beginning of July,” he said.

Turkey purchased the ship in November to join its fleet of the Fatih, Yavuz and Kanuni. The 238-metre-long vessel will have a maximum drilling depth of 12,200 metres and a maximum operational depth of 3,600 metres, an infographic by the Energy Ministry showed.

Turkey, Greece and Cyprus have come to loggerheads over territorial claims to the eastern Mediterranean and Turkish exploration for hydrocarbons in the region.

The European Union says Turkey’s drilling around the island of Cyprus is illegal. Turkey maintains it has the right to search for oil and gas off its shoreline as its continental shelf extends further than the current internationally recognised limits.

The ship, which is currently called “Cobalt Explorer,” is expected to arrive at the Taşucu port in the Mersin province on May 19, the Daily Sabah newspaper said, citing shipping data. It began its journey from the Okpo Port in South Korea on March 7 and is now off the Algerian coast, it said.







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