Turkey discovers large natural gas reserve in Black Sea

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has formally announced that Turkey made a historic discovery, finding a natural gas field holding 320 billion cubic meters in the Black Sea. The discovery of 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas comes amid a dispute with Greece over prospecting. But, it could also help the country reduce its dependence on energy imports from other countries, including Russia.

President Erodgan said the 320-billion-cubic-meter (11.3 trillion cubic feet) deep-sea find was made at a site Turkish vessels began exploring last month. Erdogan said he hoped to see the first gas reach Turkish consumers in 2023.

In another development, Turkey’s first drillship, Fatih, set sail from Istanbul’s Haydarpasa Port for a drilling mission in the Black Sea, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday.

Speaking at the send-off ceremony, the minister said that Fatih’s 103-meter long towers were disassembled in Haydarpasa port to enable the vessel for safe passage under the bridges through the Bosphorus and is projected to reach Trabzon in northeastern Turkey on June 1 to be reassembled.

“After completing nearly 1.5 months preparation period, Fatih will start its first drilling in the Black Sea in the Tuna-1 location in mid-July,” Donmez said.

Turkey will continue to carry on offshore exploration studies which are vital for the country’s energy independence, he added.

“Yavuz continues its operations in Selcuklu-1 location in the Mediterranean Sea, which marks the 7th deep drilling activity that is conducted in the area. Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and Oruc Reis seismic vessels are also exploring our seas,” he said.

Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), currently carries out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with its drilling vessel Yavuz along with two other seismic vessels, Oruc Reis and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, that are also operating in the region.

Turkey’s third drillship, Kanuni, arrived in Tasucu, Mersin, a coastal city in the Mediterranean region of the country on March 15.

Following the completion of renewal and upgrade studies, Kanuni is also projected to start operations in the Mediterranean Sea this year, according to Donmez.

The country plans to conduct five drills in the Eastern Mediterranean this year, according to Turkey’s Annual Presidential Program for 2020.

“Our two seismic and two drilling vessels will continue to work in the Eastern Mediterranean at full capacity. With Fatih’s sail to the Black Sea, we now bridged the most important gap,” the energy minister said.

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