TOTAL to start drilling off Cyprus on July 14

French energy giant TOTAL is expected to start exploratory drilling in block 11 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone on July 14.

Block 11 covers some 2,958 square kilometres and the drill site is 150 km off the coast of Cyprus.

Before any exploratory work begins, a 4400-metre diameter area around the site will be explored for objects of archaeological interest.

It has already received a positive environmental report stating that there are no endangered species or sensitive biotopes in the area and one state service after the other is issuing the relative licences required.

The exploratory drill ‘Onesiphoros  West-1‘ (OW-1) has as its task to evaluate the probable presence of hydrocarbon deposits and especially gas in the area, which falls within the Leviathan Basin.

Drilling is expected to start at a depth of 1,698 metres while the payload is expected to be found at a depth of 4,250m.

Once drilling has been completed and relevant data analysed OW-1 will be sealed.

Drilling is expected last for 50 days if no gas is discovered and 72 days if the drilling is successful. In the event of a discovery ‘trial production drills’ will not be performed but data will be collected using radiology and acoustic means.

If it is deemed necessary, then a confirmation drill (OW-2) will be sunk.

When drilling and other relative works are completed, the wells will be sealed.

The exploratory works will be supported by a land base in Limassol port which will include temporary waste storage areas, storerooms, offices etc.

The drilling vessel will also be supported by three ships one of which will be constantly in the area for security reasons while the other two ships will transport supplies and equipment to the ship while transporting waste materials to shore.

Personnel will be transported to the exploratory area by helicopter from Larnaca airport.