APA – Turkey has carried out the largest natural gas reserve exploration in the Black Sea, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday, APA reports citing Daily Sabah.

Some 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas was discovered in the Black Sea’s Tuna-1 zone, Erdoğan said, noting “the newly discovered reserves are only a piece of a larger resource,” and the country “will continue to discover more in the near future.”

The announcement came after Erdogan said Wednesday that he had “good news” that will open a “new period” for Turkey.

Turkey’s first oil and gas drilling vessel, Fatih, set sail from northern Turkey’s Trabzon on June 25 for its long-awaited drilling mission in the Black Sea following the completion of installation works.

Fatih was set to start its first drilling activities in the Black Sea in the Tuna-1 zone in mid-July, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announced at the time.

Named after Istanbul’s Ottoman conqueror Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the vessel has been carrying out activities in the region where drilling work had been suspended for a long time.

The Tuna-1 zone is located off the mouth of the Danube block in the crossroads between Bulgarian and Romanian maritime borders within the inland waters of Turkey.

Turkey’s first seismic vessel, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha, had earlier carried out seismic surveys in the Black Sea and had identified rich reserves of natural gas in the Danube block in the Turkish waters of the Western Black Sea. Romania and Bulgaria have been producing oil and gas for many years in the Danube block.

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.

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