Exceeding all forms of “piratical” and expansionist policies in international history, Turkey, with its sixth consecutive drilling within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus, proceeds to full-blown thievery.

As philenews.com reports, “Yavuz” has started drilling in the already licensed by the Republic of Cyprus “Eratosthenes South 1” target, for which ENI has conducted all requisite investigations and ensured licenses from the Republic of Cyprus at the end of 2018. It is one of the intended drilling targets of the ENI-TOTAL consortium, for which in 2017 all necessary investigations had been completed with the use, inter alia, of underwater robots. Seabed samples were also taken.

Turkey simply renamed the exact same target from “Eratosthenes South 1” to “Nicosia 1”.

This is a point south of the underwater Eratosthenes Seamount and on the edge of the so-called “Eratosthenic ring”. About 50 kilometers south, within block 9, ENI had conducted a drilling in 2015 – in the “Onesiphorus” target, with no positive result.

At the end of 2017, ENI had also commenced licensing procedures for the said target. This is the “Eratosthenes South” target and the point “3” was chosen as the drilling place, precisely due to the landform, slope etc. of the seafloor.

Underwater investigations in the “Eratosthenes South” area had uncovered both accumulations of ancient vases and shipwreck debris, so the drilling point “3” was selected between nine investigated sites in the same area, so as not to affect the aforementioned findings.

Regarding the same area, a classified report of ENI reported that it “takes into account the environmental situation in the area, avoiding the possible presence of sensitive benthic ecosystems and chemosynthetic communities, archaeological findings, and shipwrecks”.

ENI has secured for the above drilling (along with drilling permits in the Calypso reserve within block “6” and the “Soupia” target in block “3′) the environmental permit, the Department of Labour Inspection permit and the required offshore protocol.

It is evident that Turkey took advantage of ENI’s research data and did not coincidentally dispatch “Yavuz” to drill in a point just a few meters away, over an area of 45 square kilometers; on Saturday, the “Yavuz” drillship was studiously sent to the exact same spot, only a few meters apart from where ENI would drill.

Indeed, evidence shows that the drilling data provided by “Yavuz” in block “8” are exactly the same as those of the ENI technical designs, meaning that the drilling will reach a total depth of about 3,300 meters below sea level, in an area with a sea depth of 1,930 meters. Therefore, the drill will search for a reserve target at a depth of 1,370 meters below the seabed.

All the incidence data demonstrate that Turkey, frustrated by the null results of five illegal drillings within the Cyprus EEZ (two west of Paphos, two south of Karpasia and one south of Pissouri), decided not to trust the geologists of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation and those of their Norwegian counterparts – together with which they process the seismic data of “Barbaros” – and to proceed, at least blindly in part, to a more “secure” target, which has been worked through by the experienced ENI in the area.

ENI has changed its plans for “Eratosthenes”

Evidence and information show that, no matter how Turkey has collected the data, it is not complete and has not followed the developments after 2017.

Specifically, ENI, while having obtained permit for the drilling, had informed the Cypriot side that it would not proceed to this objective before studying the geological results of other targets (such as “Calypso”, “Anthia” and “Glafkos”), since it had detected within block “8” a total of four “Zohr”- type targets, each one with differentiated characteristics, so they sought to clarify some particular data.

Reports indicate that ENI, along with the french TOTAL S.A. – which joined the rights on Block “8” a few months ago – based on drilling data of the past two years in the area, have significantly reduced the chances of a worthwhile discovery being made, especially with regard to the interpretation of seismic evidence as “Zohr” type rocks, which turned out to be a form of granite, like in the “Anthia” target.

According to certain information, the data of licensing studies of the Environment and Labour Inspection Service, which were, apparently, of particular interest to Turkey, were the reason for such data – concerning drillings – (even of environmental nature or regarding labour security) to be classified as highly confidential and having a strict access procedure, while leaking them constitutes a criminal offense.