Turkey's third drilling ship, Kanuni, set sail from Istanbul on Friday en route to the Black Sea for maintenance at the Port of Filyos on the sea's coast before starting its mission at the Sakarya gas field, said Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez.
Speaking at the launch ceremony in Istanbul's Haydarpaşa Port, Dönmez said Kanuni will join the drillship Fatih, which also set sail from the same location on May 29 for the Black Sea where the vessel discovered 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas within only one month.
“The reserves discovered at the Tuna-1 well in the Sakarya gas field were later revised up to 405 billion cubic meters and with that, we finalized our first drilling at Tuna-1,” Dönmez said.
The discovery of this size could meet Turkey’s household gas demands for over 20 years, Dönmez said, adding that to date, Turkey produced 16.8 bcm of gas but succeeded in discovering 24 times more gas from a single drilling.
Earlier this month, Fatih kick-started drilling at the Türkali-1 borehole, a new location in the Sakarya gas field.
Dönmez on Wednesday said within the scope of hydrocarbon exploration and production activities carried out on land and sea, 76 exploration, production and detection wells were opened in the first nine months of 2020.
Three of these were at sea and 73 on land, and about 186,000 meters (610,200 feet) of drilling was carried out, the minister said.
To attain similar results in the Black Sea, Kanuni was added to Turkey's fleet at the beginning of this year. After conducting required maintenance and upgrades in Mersin's Taşucu Port, the ship arrived at Haydarpaşa Port on Oct. 19, Dönmez explained on Friday.
"Here the ship's towers were dismantled to pass under bridges in the Bosporus. Today we are sending Kanuni to the Port of Filyos. The ship will be ready for new operations after tower reassembly, navigation tests and after drilling equipment assembly and bottom-hole safety system maintenance works are finalized," he said.
The Kanuni will start its first drilling in the Black Sea early next year.
The 227-meter-long, 42-meter-wide vessel has been equipped with the latest technology, said Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) General Manager Melih Han Bilgin.
The vessel will be making many firsts, Bilgin said in his speech at the ceremony. “Kanuni will carry out the completion work at Türkali-1, the first valuation well excavated in our country at the moment. This will be our country's first completion work on the seas,” he added.
The sixth-generation ultra drillship was built by South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries in 2012 and used by Brazil's Petrobras between 2012 and 2015.
The drillship has a draft of 12 meters and its equipment can reach up to 11,400 meters below sea level and drill to a depth of 3,000 meters below the seabed.
Turning to Turkey's operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Dönmez also noted that the drillship Yavuz finalized operations at depths of 6,000 meters in the Selçuklu-1 well where promising results were achieved.
He said new drillings would be conducted in areas adjacent to the well following maintenance on Yavuz at the Taşucu Port in Mersin in the country's south.
The Oruç Reis and Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa seismic research vessels are also operating in the Mediterranean, where the former collected two-dimensional data in the Demre-1 location offshore near Antalya in a 6,822-square-kilometer (4,239-square-mile) area, while the latter so far has collected data in an area totaling around 195,525 square kilometers, Dönmez said.
"We will determine our locations for our next mission in the Mediterranean according to our seismic data analysis," Dönmez concluded.
The minister last month said the country was exploring and analyzing options for leasing or acquiring a new drilling vessel, as activities intensify in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
“Our plans were that two to three drillships would be enough until the first discovery. But we will have intensive drilling work after the first find,” the minister had said.
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