Photo: Abdülhamid Han drillship; Source: TPAO

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Turkish drillship kicks off drilling operations in Mediterranean

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Following an official send-off last week, Türkiye’s fourth drillship has kicked off drilling operations on its first-ever offshore exploration well.

After bringing in Fatih, the country’s first drillship, in 2017, Yavuz in 2018, and Kanuni in 2020, the national oil and gas company TPAO bought its fourth drillship, Abdülhamid Han, in 2021. The fourth drillship left South Korea in March 2022 and reached Türkiye in May 2022.

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After a period of preparations for operations while at Taşucu port, the drillship’s new name was revealed in June just as TPAO started laying pipes in the Black Sea as part of its giant Sakarya gas field project development, which has a total of 540 bcm of gas.

On Tuesday 9 August, the drillship was sent on its first drilling mission in the East Mediterranean following a ceremony attended by President Recep Erdoğan and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Dönmez.

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The 7th generation drillship is 238 meters long and 42 meters wide with a tower height of 104 meters and a maximum drilling depth capability of 12,200 meters.

Accompanied by Turkish Navy vessels, the rig reached its well location on 10 August.

Minister Dönmez revealed in a social media update on Wednesday 17 August that the drillship had started drilling its first well, Yörükler-1. The well is located 55 kilometres off Gazipaşa.

According to the latest AIS data, the drillship is located in the East Mediterranean accompanied by Kutsi İlhan, Murat İlhan, and Hakan İlhan offshore supply vessels. Data from NAVTEX (Navigational Telex) shows that the drillship will be working at this location until 22 October 2022.

“Our drilling ship Abdülhamid Han started its first drilling in the Yörükler-1 well today.
We are determined to keep the joy of the Black Sea alive this time with new good news in the Mediterranean.
With the sweat of our engineers and the prayers of our nation, may the luck of our ship be good and its drilling fruitful.”

Meanwhile, the announcement about results from an exploration well being drilled by Italy’s Eni and France’s TotalEnergies in waters off Cyprus is imminent. The country’s Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry said on 5 August that the drilling is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.

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