A consortium of French and Italian companies is preparing to undertake drilling and field development operations in Cyprus. This development is unfolding as the Turkish drillship Abdulhamid Han, positioned between Rhodes and Cyprus but outside the maritime zones of both Cyprus and Greece, awaits orders from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The ship’s potential movement towards the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is seen as a significant step, signaling Turkey’s readiness to re-engage in drilling activities in the area after a hiatus.
The decision to proceed with drilling by the Turkish side appears contingent on the actions of the French-Italian consortium. The leadership of the Italian company ENI has committed to being the first to extract gas from the Cypriot seabed, a move that could prompt a Turkish response. The Abdulhamid Han, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and one of only five seventh-generation drillships globally, boasts a maximum drilling depth of 12,200 meters and can accommodate a crew of 200. It’s noteworthy that Turkey has been actively drilling in its territorial waters for the past four years, underscoring its capabilities and intentions in the region.