Turkey’s first oil and gas drilling vessel, Fatih, has started its first drilling in the Black Sea at the Tuna-1 zone, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez announced Monday.
“With our nation’s prayer and support, Fatih has started its first drilling in the Black Sea at the Tuna-1 location,” Dönmez said on his Twitter account.
“We will search every square meter of our seas for Turkey’s energy independence,” the minister noted. “If there is, we will surely find,” he added, referring to the gas and exploration activities in the Black Sea.
Fatih departed for its long-awaited drilling mission in the region from northern Turkey’s Trabzon on June 26, following the completion of installation works.
The vessel's 103-meter towers were disassembled in Istanbul's Haydarpaşa port in late May to allow the vessel’s safe passage under the bridges in the Bosporus before it arrived in the Port of Trabzon on June 6 where it was reassembled.
Named after Istanbul's Ottoman conqueror Sultan Mehmed II, known as Fatih in Turkish, the vessel will be carrying out activities in the region where drilling work has been suspended for a long time.
The 229-meter-long (751-foot-long) vessel, which weighs 5,283 gross tons, is capable of drilling to a maximum depth of 40,000 feet.
The Tuna-1 zone is located off the mouth of the Danube block at the crossroads of the Bulgarian and Romanian maritime borders and the inland waters of Turkey.
Turkey’s first seismic vessel, Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, has previously carried out seismic surveys in the Black Sea and identified rich reserves of natural gas in the Danube block in the Turkish seawaters of the western Black Sea. Romania and Bulgaria have been producing oil and gas for many years in the Danube block.
Dönmez last month said seismic data from the site shows promising signs. “There have been a number of discoveries in the Black Sea, near Romania, for example, in fields close to ours. This type of seismic research is ongoing in Bulgaria. There is some ongoing work on the Ukrainian side, too," he noted.