A Turkish drilling ship has discovered a big natural gas reserve in the Black Sea.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the drilling ship Fatih, which has been operating in the area since July, had found 320bn cu m (11,300 cu ft) of gas.
He said the Turkish Black Sea discovery was the country’s biggest natural gas find to date. The size of the discovery dwarfs all the natural gas Turkey has ever produced – 16.6 billion cubic meters – by twenty-fold.
If Turkey can extract the gas commercially, it will be able to reduce its reliance on imported energy.
President Erdogan said all tests and engineering work had been completed. The discovery was off the Black Sea province of Zonguldak.
He added: “This reserve is actually part of a much bigger source. God willing, much more will come.
“There will be no stopping until we become a net exporter in energy.”
President Erdogan said he hoped to start extracting the gas by 2023.
But energy experts say to commercialize the gas could take up to a decade and billions of dollars of investment.
Faith Returns to East Med
Turkey has also sent a ship to carry out a drilling survey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Oruc Reis left port on 10 August, accompanied by five naval vessels. It was reported the next day to be sailing in waters between Crete and Cyprus.
This has infuriated the Greeks, as they disagree with Turkey over who holds the rights to certain areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.
On Friday, President Erdogan said he intended to accelerate operations in the Mediterranean.
Officials say the natural gas find could eliminate the country’s current account deficit issue.
“With the current exploration and potential here, I hope in the coming days we will talk about a current account surplus,” said Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s treasury and finance minister, Albayrak spoke alongside Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez.
The Fatih has been exploring at the Tuna-1 well. The find was made some 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) north of the Turkish coast in the western Black Sea.
The find could also trigger changes in Turkey’s gas contracts with Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan.