ECONOMY

Turkey's first drilling vessel Fatih to launch deep-sea drilling operation in Med this week

Turkey’s 229-meter first drillship, Fatih, seen off the shores of the Mediterranean city of Antalya.

Turkey's first drilling vessel Fatih is set to initiate its first deep-sea drilling operation at the deep-water well Alanya-1 in the Eastern Mediterranean this week

Turkish drilling vessel Fatih will conduct its first deep-sea drilling operation in the Mediterranean this week.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez will be present on the occasion. The drilling will secure Turkey's rights in the Mediterranean, as per international law. The country looks to become more active in drilling operations in the near future.

The vessel, named after Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the conqueror of Istanbul, sailed off to the Mediterranean earlier in May to start the country's first deep-sea drilling operations. Reports said that more than 200 local and foreign experts will be working on the vessel, which will start drilling the deep-water well Alanya-1 in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The 229-meter vessel is capable of drilling to a maximum depth of 12,192 meters. The first drilling well will reach depths of 2,600 meters.

Energy Minister Dönmez previously said that the drillship Fatih will carry out the first deep-sea drilling activities in Turkey's exclusive economic zone off the shores of Antalya, on the country's southern Mediterranean coast, at the end of October. The ship, which is suitable for conducting operations in accordance with international rules and regulations, will continue to work in accordance with occupational safety and environmentally friendly standards. Last week, it was announced that the state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has hired Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services firm, to help with its offshore drilling in the Mediterranean.

The American company said in its third-quarter report for 2018 that it will support TPAO in oil exploration activities in the Mediterranean. In the report, Schlumberger said it would provide technical support to the drilling vessel Fatih.

"Turkish Petroleum awarded Schlumberger an ISM [Integrated Services Management] contract valued at $15 million to drill the deep-water well Alanya-1 in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. ISM will coordinate multiple product lines as well as provide project management services on Turkish Petroleum's ultra-deep-water drillship, Fatih," the company said in its report.

In late September, TPAO also awarded Houston-based Rowan Companies a two-well contract in the Mediterranean with an estimated duration of 100-140 days. The company's N-class jack-up rig Rowan Norway is expected to start operations late this year.

The Rowan Norway is currently warm-stacked in the U.K. sector of the North Sea. Rowan is a global provider of contract drilling services with a fleet of 27 mobile offshore drilling units composed of 23 self-elevating jack-up rigs and four ultra-deep-water drillships.

Turkey is already undertaking oil and gas explorations using two seismic vessels. Seismic vessels Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa, which was bought from Norway in 2013, and Oruç Reis, which Turkish engineers built in a local shipyard in Istanbul in June, carry out seismic surveys and collect data in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

The TL 400-million ($72.37 million) Oruç Reis, with an anticipated 30-year service life, is capable of sailing nonstop for 35 days with its 55-man crew. Furthermore, the ship is equipped with a helicopter pad and the hydrography and oceanography systems on board allow for the scanning of the seafloor up to a depth of 15,000 meters.

Meanwhile, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dönmez previously announced that Turkey is actively preparing to buy a second drill ship to ramp up exploration.

Turkey aims to broaden its deep-sea and land exploration and drilling operations for oil and gas as part of its National Energy and Mining Policy, announced in April 2017.

To decrease its dependency on energy import and cater for the growing market needs, the Turkish government has developed a national energy and mining strategy based on three main pillars: Localization, security of supply and predictability of market conditions, with particular importance attached to regional infrastructural projects for diversification as a guiding element. The policy is a broad framework explaining Turkey's plans in energy, including oil and gas exploration, mining and renewable energy investments.

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