ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmaz said on Sunday that his country would send a second drilling vessel to operate in the Black Sea, weeks after Ankara announced the largest Turkish discovery of natural gas so far in the region.
“Our (legal) ship, which continues to be equipped, will start exploration in the Black Sea,” the minister added on Twitter.
Donmaz added that the (legal) vessel would support the Fateh exploration vessel that revealed the natural gas field, which has a reservoir of 320 billion cubic meters, about a hundred nautical miles north of the Turkish coast.
It was not immediately clear if the (legal) vessel would operate in the same area as the Al-Fateh vessel. The (legal) is now located off the coast of Antalya, as Refinitiv ship traffic tracking data shows.
Currently, Turkey imports all of its energy needs, and any disclosure will help reduce the deficit in its current account.
Donmaz said last month that data indicated that more natural gas stocks would be uncovered as exploration continues deeper under the sea floor. A senior energy ministry official said this week that Turkey hopes to announce the new disclosure in October.
More than a quarter of long-term Turkish gas contracts will expire next year, including pipeline imports from Russia’s Gazprom, Azerbaijan’s SoCar and an agreement with Nigeria for liquefied natural gas.
The official said that Ankara expects gas suppliers to offer more competitive and flexible prices if they want to renew long-term contracts, with a total volume of 16 billion cubic meters annually.
Turkey is also carrying out exploration operations in the Mediterranean, which has led to a confrontation with Greece and Cyprus over ownership of potential oil and gas resources in the region.
Prepared by Muhammad Abd Allah for the Arabic Bulletin – Edited by Ahmed Hassan