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Turkey Expands Gas Drilling In The Black Sea

After announcing a major natural gas discovery in the Black Sea earlier this year, Turkey has started drilling for gas at a second location in the sea, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Twitter on Thursday.  

The Turkish drillship Fatih returned to drill for gas in the Black Sea at the Türkali-1 borehole, and the campaign will last 75 days, the minister said.

Early last month, Dönmez said that Turkey plans to deploy a third drillship to explore for natural resources in the Black Sea. Turkey's third drillship, Kanuni, will begin exploration in the Black Sea in early 2021 and will operate alongside the drillship Fatih, which made earlier this year a natural gas discovery in the Black Sea, which Turkey says is its largest-ever gas find.

In August, Turkey's President Recep Erdogan said that the country had made a large natural gas discovery in its waters in the Black Sea. Back then, Turkey's estimate was for 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas and said this was its largest-ever gas discovery. Erdogan hailed the find as a historic discovery that would help Turkey's energy security.

Turkey currently imports nearly all the gas it consumes.

Erdogan said in August that he hoped that the Tuna-1 discovery could start producing gas as early as in 2023.

In the middle of October, Erdogan announced that the Tuna discovery contained more gas resources than initially thought. According to the Turkish president, the discovery was estimated to hold another 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas, bringing the total volume to 405 billion cubic meters.

Erdogan also said that Ankara would continue to search for oil and gas resources both in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Turkish drilling campaign in the Mediterranean has drawn criticism from Turkey's neighbors. Tensions between EU members Greece and Cyprus on the one hand, and Turkey on the other, flared up again in recent months after Turkey resumed drilling and exploration for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean in waters that Greece and Cyprus consider part of their territorial waters.  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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