Sensitivity assessment of habitats and key species to pressures associated with exploratory offshore drilling operations in Block 6 – Cronos prospect area, EEZ Cyprus

ca 3 months (May 2019 – July 2019)

Funded by:
ENI Cyprus Ltd.

Subcontracted by the joint venture:
Nicolaides & Associates Ltd
Pro Iter Ambiente S.r.l.
TEA Sistemi S.p.A.

Project Description:
The sensitivity assessment is a generic and widely used procedure to determine the likely effects of the pressures on a ‘hypothetical’ population. Sensitivity to anthropogenic pressures is primarily determined by the features (habitat or key species) ability to resist that pressure by virtue of its characteristic properties, e.g. hardness of substratum or physiological tolerance limits and behavioral plasticity (i.e. Resistance). At the same time, sensitivity also depends upon the capacity of the feature to recover from impacts following reduction or removal of the pressure (i.e. Resilience). Resistance and resilience scores to standardized pressures are combined to yield assessments of sensitivity to human activities.

The scope of this work is the application of a sensitivity assessment on the ecosystem features of the prospect area to exploratory offshore drilling operations. The survey area ‘of Cronos has a surface area of approximately 40 km2 and an average water depth of 2302 m. The prospect area is located close to the south-western corner of Block 6 (Cyprus EEZ), about 152 km southwest from the Cypriot coastline (Paphos, west Cyprus). The Cronos prospect area lies at a minimum distance of 66 km west from the foothills of the Eratosthenes Seamount, a biodiversity ‘hotspot’, and one of the most pronounced bathymetric features in the Mediterranean. One exploratory well (i.e. Cronos 1) is foreseen for drilling.

A final sensitivity assessment report was delivered to the consortium in July 2019.