Exxon Begins Glaucus-2 Well Drilling Off Cyprus

Exxon Begins Glaucus-2 Well Drilling Off Cyprus
ExxonMobil started drilling an appraisal well in Block 10 off Cyprus, weeks after issues were raised by Turkey over the award of Block 5.

Supermajor ExxonMobil has started drilling the Glaucus-2 appraisal well in Block 10 offshore Cyprus just weeks after issues were raised by Turkey over the award of Block 5.

Cyprus’ Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry said that the well was spud using the Stena Drilling-owned drillship Stena Forth. The ministry added that the drilling operations would be ‘monitored continuously’ by the officials.

The country’s Energy, Commerce, and Industry Minister Natasa Pilides confirmed the start of the Glaucus-2 well drilling via her social media accounts.

To remind, the Glaucus gas discovery was made in 2019 with estimated in-place resources of 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet of gas. The well was drilled to a final drilling depth of 14,000 feet below sea level in 6,800 feet of water by the Stena IceMax drillship.

The drillship was recently awarded more work by Exxon. Under the deal, the Stena IceMax will be mobilizing for operations offshore Canada after it completes work in the Mediterranean. The operations are due to start in the second half of 2022.

ExxonMobil is the operator of Block 10, where the Glaucus-2 well is located. QatarEnergy is Exxon’s partner in the block.

These two signed an exploration and production sharing contract with the government of Cyprus for another offshore block earlier this month. The offshore acreage in question is Block 5 located southwest of Cyprus.

The block covers an area of 1,740 square miles in water depths of up to 8,200 feet and is adjacent to Block 10.

This became a hot topic immediately as the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement just hours after the Energy Ministry in Cyprus announced the deal that Turkey a part of the license area in question violates Turkey’s continental shelf in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Turkey will never allow any foreign country, company, or ship to engage in hydrocarbon exploration activities in its maritime jurisdictions,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Turkey also accused Cyprus of escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean by awarding exploration and drilling rights to the venture.

The situation in Cyprus is very complicated as the Republic of Cyprus is an EU member state and officially has sovereignty over the entire island. But Cyprus has been effectively divided since Turkey’s military captured the northern third in 1974. That part of the island is now the self-proclaimed state named the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey and it lays claim to any energy resources discovered off its coast.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also attacked the award of Block 5 to the consortium of Exxon and QatarEnergy. The Ministry claimed in a statement that ‘necessary measures will be taken against this initiative, which is a violation of not only the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people but also the continental shelf of the Republic of Turkey.’

“It is not possible to stand idle by and watch the deliberate efforts of the Greek Cypriot side to escalate the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean region […],” the Northern Cyprus Ministry added.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com


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