Turkey’s new seismic survey ship the ‘Oruc Reis’ is ready to enter service, following the completion of all necessary tests.
The new vessel will explore for oil and gas in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, joining the ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa’.
Built in a shipyard in Tuzla, the vessel, more than 90% of which was domestically manufactured, cost around TL 400 million ($113.67 million).
The 86-meter-long and 22-meter-wide vessel will be able to remain at sea for 35 days when its fuel and water reserves are full. The vessel, which has an economic lifespan of 30 years, will carry 55 personnel, 28 of whom will be researchers and 27 shipmen. There are 35 active cameras located at different angles on-board.
Moreover, the MTA ‘Oruc Reis’ has a propulsion and manoeuvring system with the capacity to conduct 2B and 3B seismic surveys in open seas.
With 2B/3B seismic surveys to be carried out by the vessel, it will be possible to examine depths of 20,000 meters to the sea floor. There are also systems on-board that allow researchers to take samples from the sea floor. Detailed mapping and imaging will be performed on the seabed for hydrographic and oceanographic studies. With a wired robotic system on-board and operated under the sea, it will be possible to conduct seismic observations and take samples at depths of up to 1,500 meters. In addition, current measurements, water sampling and physical, chemical and biological analysis and CTD system surveys will be performed.
The vessel is also expected to conduct research on earthquakes as well as tsunami surveys and studies regarding marine structures including harbours, platforms and submarine cable and pipeline location selection, periodic controls and marine pollution.
In contrast to the survey vessel ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa’ in terms of scientific equipment, the ‘Oruc Reis’ has a remote-controlled, underwater vehicle with geological sampling, hydrography and oceanography. Moreover, the ‘Oruc Reis’ is also equipped with a helicopter pad, like the ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa’ vessel.
Two years ago, the ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa’ conducted oil and natural gas explorations off the coast of Cyprus but these activities were interrupted in March 2015 when tensions arose between the Greek-Cypriot administration and the Turkish-Cypriot government, regarding sovereign ownership of the resources. However, Turkey remains determined to re-launch its survey with another vessel, the ‘Turkuaz’, owned by the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration.
Meanwhile, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak has emphasised that Turkey will intensify its policy on exploration and drilling activities in Turkey soon, as part of the National Energy and Mining Policy. “With the ‘Barbaros Hayrettin’ vessel in the Black Sea and the ‘Oruc Reis’ in the Mediterranean this month, we will conduct both two-dimensional and three-dimensional [2B/3B] seismic surveys in our two seas,” he said.
Albayrak previously indicated his hopes that the activation of a drilling vessel off the coast of Cyprus by the end of 2017 will allow for the start of drilling operations in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, announcing that Turkey will drill its first well in the Mediterranean by the end of the third or fourth quarter of this year.
Noting that the ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa’ has already completed two-thirds of a three-dimensional seismic project spanning roughly 1,695 square meters off the coast of Famagusta, Albayrak indicated that seismic exploration in the region will be completed by the end of this month ahead of the July 10 deadline, exceeding expectations amid recent developments.
He added that the vessel will continue work on a new three-dimensional seismic project in the Mediterranean region, stressing that the Ministry expects exploration to be completed in at least two or three regions by the end of the year.
Albayrak also indicated that in order to ensure a stronger, more powerful Turkey for the future, the country must take action in oil and gas exploration and utilise domestic engineering and various platforms. He said, “Particularly regarding land and sea exploration, there has been serious fluctuation in the costs of new techniques, new investments and transformation of the sector on a global scale. Turkey, as a developing and growing country, must evaluate every opportunity in the best way possible to take effective steps at the optimal time. To facilitate this, we will take major steps not only in the Mediterranean Sea but also in the Black Sea with our other vessel, the ‘Oruc Reis’,” the energy minister said.
“As I always mention, Turkey has allocated an average of $44 billion annually in energy investments over the last 10 years. When we include mining investments that were recorded at nearly $10.6 billion, we have a $55 billion annual budget for energy and mining imports,” he added.
With regard to Turkey’s strategy in the coming period, Albayrak previously said that Turkey has never conducted and will never conduct any projects outside of maritime law in both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, adding that drilling projects have always been conducted in the scope of international and domestic maritime law. Albayrak said that at least one or two wells will be drilled in the sea under the auspices of newly launched steps, saying: “This will be done because, by evaluating the data we find in this framework and information in the scientific field, we will start taking direct steps regarding the most optimal fields. There is a lot of potential here and I believe we will get positive results.”