Eni mobilizes Saipem 12000 drillship to Morocco

Italian oil company Eni has started the mobilization of the Saipem 12000 drillship to drill the RD-1 well offshore Morocco as actions by the Turkish navy made Eni postpone its drilling plans in Cyprus.

The RD-1 well is located on the Rabat Deep Permits in Morocco where Eni is the operator with a 40% interest. Eni’s partners are Woodside Energy (25%), ONHYM (25%), and Chariot Oil & Gas (10%).

The sixth generation ultra-deepwater drillship is expected to arrive in Morocco in approximately ten days, Chariot said in a statement on Tuesday.

The RD-1 well, targeting the JP-1 prospect, is anticipated to spud shortly after its arrival, Chariot added.

The JP-1 prospect is a large, four-way dip closed structure of approximately 200 square km areal extent, with Jurassic carbonate primary reservoir objectives, and an independently audited gross mean prospective resource estimate of 768mmbbls.

Eni secured the Saipem 12000 drillship for its drilling program in the Rabat Deep Offshore license in September 2017.

In the meantime, Eni also used the drillship for its operations offshore Cyprus, making a large gas discovery at the Calypso prospect in the Block 6 in February 2018.

Later in February, when the drillship attempted to move to the Soupia well location in the Block 3 in the disputed area of the Mediterranean Sea, it was reportedly blocked by the Turkish navy on the grounds of the expected military operation at the destination.

Both Turkey and the breakaway state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – recognized only by Turkey – accused the internationally recognized government of Cyprus of unilaterally conducting hydrocarbon exploration only for the benefit of the Greek side, without taking into consideration the Turkish Cypriots’ interests.

Cyprus’ recently reelected president Nicos Anastasiades last week said the government’s “goal is to fully explore Cyprus’s hydrocarbon potential, in the best terms possible, so as to maximize the benefits for all the people of Cyprus,” dismissing the Turkish side’s accusations as unfounded and unjustified.

Following these developments offshore Cyprus, the drillship’s move to Morocco was announced by Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi last week.

According to Reuters, Descalzi said that Eni would not relinquish its interests in the area, but would wait for the “for international, European, Turkish, Greek and Cypriot diplomacy to find a solution.”

EU tells Turkey to stop


Last Thursday, Anastasiades met with President of the European Council Donald Tusk to discuss the issue with Turkey and its Exclusive Economic Zone ahead of the informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government held in Brussels on Friday, February 23.

Following the meeting on Friday, Tusk and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, held a joint press conference.

At the conference, Tusk made a statement on the Republic of Cyprus’s EEZ: “This evening President Anastasiades and Prime Minister Tsipras informed us about the latest developments regarding Turkey’s illegal violations in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean.

“On behalf of all the EU leaders, I would like to express our solidarity with Cyprus and Greece, and urgently call on Turkey to terminate these activities. I reiterate our support for the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. These actions contradict Turkey’s commitment to good neighborly relations and their normalization with all Member States.

“We are ready to cooperate with Turkey and will assess at our March European Council whether the conditions are there to hold the Leaders’ Meeting with Turkey in Varna on 26 March.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff