Turkey's fourth drill ship, Abdülhamid Han, will start operations in August, most likely in the Mediterranean Sea, out of five to six alternatives discussed, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said Wednesday.
During a visit to Mersin in the south of the country where the vessel is docked, Dönmez said the ship, being one of five of seventh-generation ships in the world, has the latest technology, and will join a fleet of three others for hydrocarbon operations.
"We have been continuing our drilling activities in our own maritime influence areas in Mavi Vatan (Blue Motherland – areas that fall under Turkey's maritime jurisdiction) for four years without interruption. Our biggest strength is the deep-sea drilling ships of our fleet. First Fatih, then Yavuz and lastly Kanuni joined our fleet."
Dönmez stated that most of Turkey's energy fleet continues its activities in the Black Sea.
"You need to strengthen your fleet and human resources in order to achieve the goals. We are now nearing the end of our work on preparing our last ship for the first mission."
Dönmez pointed out that the Abdülhamid Han ship had advanced technology.
"Our ship will go to its first mission location in the first half of August. Five to six alternatives are being discussed for the first mission location," he said. "We will be patient for one more month. The place of duty will most likely be the Mediterranean."
Operated by the state energy company Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), the ship can operate at a maximum depth of 3,665 meters (12,024 feet).
The vessel is 238 meters long and 42 meters wide and weighs 68,000 gross tons with a maximum drilling depth of 12,200 meters. It has a tower height of 104 meters and a crew capacity of 200.
Dönmez also touched upon the studies on natural gas discovered in the Black Sea. Next week will see more activity when the ship, Castorone, begins pipelaying in the deep waters of the Black Sea to allow the natural gas to be brought onshore.
Turkey has been conducting drilling activities in its waters for the past four years.