Turkey is kicking off its second drilling operation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, in the contentious waters controlled by Cyprus.
Drillship Fatih, owned by state oil firm Turkish Petroleum, left the northern Marmara coast of Turkey and has started drilling on Mongosa-1 wildcat.
Drillship Fatih has a length of 229 meters (751 feet) and is capable of drilling to a maximum depth of 40,000 feet. Turkish Petroleum said the vessel is scheduled to conduct deep-sea drilling operations off Antalya's shores, which is north west of Cyprus.
The first drilling well will reach 2,600 meters in depth, Turkish Petroleum said. While Turkish Petroleum's seismic vessels Barbaros Hayreddin and Oruç Reis will carry out seismic surveys and collect data both in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the drillship Fatih will be deployed wherever the data suggests potential resources, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said.
The country is planning on obtaining a second drilling vessel to continue Turkey’s oil and gas exploration plans both in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Albayrak said.
Fatih comes after Turkish drillship Yavuz started operations inside Block 7, off the coast of southeastern Cyprus at the end of September.
Turkey has already drilled wells in waters to the east and west of the island, triggering strong protests from the European Union in recent months, including EU sanctions.
Cyprus has been ethnically split between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974. The internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government represents Cyprus in the European Union, while a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north is only recognised by Ankara.