Istanbul -Turkey has discovered an estimated 320 billion cubic metres of natural gas off its Black Sea coast, President Recep Erdogan said on Friday, hailing it as “good news of historical importance” for a country which relies almost entirely on imported energy.
“Turkey has made the largest natural gas discovery in its history in Black Sea,” Erdogan said in a televised address in Istanbul.
He added that Ankara plans to bring the gas to the domestic market as early as 2023.
The Fatih drill ship found the deposit in Turkey’s Tuna-1 well in Sakarya gas field, off the Black Sea town of Zonguldak, Erdogan said.
Turkey has been exploring for energy resources in Black Sea for several years.
The Turkish drilling ship Fatih resumed operations on the single well on July 20.
Turkey is also exploring for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, where it is locked in a maritime border dispute with neighbouring NATO ally Greece.
Turkey’s energy imports totalled 41 billion dollars in 2019, according to government data.
The country imported more than 45 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2019, with Russia being the main supplier.
More reserve finds could help cure Turkey’s structural weakness of high current account deficit, Erdogan argued on Friday.
Analysts still caution it could take several years and billions of dollars in investment before Ankara can start gas production.