Italian oil company Eni, with its Russian partner Novatek, is gearing up to start drilling operations offshore Montenegro.
The country's Hydrocarbons Administration said Monday that the jack-up drilling rig Topaz Driller had arrived at the offshore drilling location around 7 pm local time Monday, after a five-day trip from Malta where the final preparations for the upcoming drilling were made.
"The crew has been quarantined in Podgorica until today and their boarding on the Topaz Driller has begun," Hydrocarbons Administration said Monday.
The rig is expected to begin the drilling operation by March 25, 2021.
It is planned that the drilling of the first exploration well, which is located 28 km from the shore, will last between 120 and 180 days, and that by the end of 2021 it will be known whether there are commercial hydrocarbon deposits at the site.
The second exploration well, which is also part of the Work Program of the contract in question, will be slightly closer to the shore, at a distance of about 18 km.
Eni entered Montenegro's upstream sector in 2016, when it, together with NOVATEK, signed a concession contract with the government of Montenegro for exploring four offshore blocks.
For the Montenegro operations, Eni hired Vantage Drilling's 2009-built Topaz Driller jack-up drilling rig back in July 2020. The rig was last used by Vaalco for drilling operations in Gabon in early 2020.