Photo: Stena Forth drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

ExxonMobil kicks off drilling operations offshore Cyprus

Oil major ExxonMobil has started drilling the Glaucus-2 appraisal well located in Block 10 offshore Cyprus.

The well was spud using the Stena Drilling-owned drillship, the Stena Forth, the country’s Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry informed on Tuesday. The country’s Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry, Natasa Pilides, also confirmed the start of drilling operations in a tweet on Wednesday.

The ministry noted that the drilling operations would be “monitored continuously” by the officials.

The Glaucus gas discovery was made in February 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 4,200 meters below sea level in 2,063 meters of water, using the Stena IceMax drillship.

ExxonMobil’s partner in Block 10 is QatarEnergy and the two have recently also signed an exploration and production sharing contract with the government of Cyprus for the offshore Block 5 located southwest of the island. Block 5 covers an area of 4,500 km2 in water depths of up to 2,500 meters, and is adjacent to Block 10.

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus slammed the move to award the block to the consortium of ExxonMobil and QatarEnergy. The Ministry said 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.”

The ministry also said, “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…”

Stena Forth is a 6th Generation harsh environment dual-activity dynamically positioned (DP3) drillship, capable of drilling in water depths up to 10,000ft.

Last month, the drillship was awarded more work by ExxonMobil, this time for operations offshore Canada. The operations are due to start in 2H22. To perform this well, the Stena Forth drillship will mobilise from the Eastern Mediterranean to Canada after an agreement was reached to accommodate this well for ExxonMobil within the drillship’s contractual backlog.