By Murat Temizer and Muhsin Baris Tiryakioglu
The U.S.-based Rowan Companies' drillship, Rowan Norway, arrived in Turkey's Mediterranean coast near Mersin to conduct test drilling for hydrocarbon reserves around the region, according to the Turkish Naval Forces Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography (SHOD) on Monday.
SHOD confirmed that drilling operations will be held off Mersin's coast from Nov.14 and up to approx. Jan. 19 next year.
Turkish Petroleum signed a contract on Sept. 24, which is scheduled to commence in late 2018, with Rowan Companies to drill two hydrocarbon wells in the Mediterranean Sea for an estimated period of 100-140 days.
The Rowan Norway is classed as an N-Class ultra-harsh environment jack-up rig and part of Rowan's drilling fleet. The company 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-deepwater drillships.
"The company's fleet operates worldwide, including the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the U.K. and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea, the Middle East, the Mediterranean Sea, and Trinidad. Additionally, the company is a 50/50 partner in a joint venture with Saudi Aramco, entitled ARO Drilling, that owns a fleet of five self-elevating jack-up rigs that operate in the Arabian Gulf," the company explained.
Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez had confirmed last week that drilling would start in mid-November about 19-20 miles off the coast of Mersin.