ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president has announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves in the Black Sea.
Speaking aboard the drill ship Fatih on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said explorations in the Tuna-1 well were complete after reaching a depth of 4775 meters (5,222 yards).
In August, Turkey announced the discovery 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves off the Black Sea coast, which energy analysts considered notable but not large enough to turn Turkey into a regional energy hub.
Ankara says it plans to extract and use the gas by 2023, hoping to eventually decrease its dependence on energy imports. Last year’s imports totaled more than $41 billion.
Turkey has increased its maritime search for hydrocarbon resources, with several drill ships in waters near the country. Its vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean have been at the heart of a dispute with neighboring Greece over the delimitation of continental shelves.
“We will continue our search for hydrocarbon resources in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean,” Erdogan said.
This week, Turkey redeployed its survey ship Oruc Reis to disputed waters in an area among Greek islands, Cyprus and Turkey’s southern coast. Turkey pulled the vessel to shore last month for maintenance and resupply, saying the move would give diplomacy a chance, but the military and diplomatic spat continues.
Erdogan warned that Turkey would use diplomacy and “all its might” to defend the energy rights for Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.
He added that the Fatih drill ship would return to drilling next month in the Turkali-1 well and would be joined in the Black Sea by the new Turkish vessel, Kanuni.
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