Turkey’s Erdogan hails huge natural gas find

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A Turkish drilling ship has discovered a big natural gas reserve in the Black Sea.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the drilling ship Fatih, which has been operating in the area since July, had found 320bn cu m (11,300 cu ft) of gas.

He said it was Turkey’s biggest natural gas find to date.

If Turkey can extract the gas commercially, it will be able to reduce its reliance on imported energy.

President Erdogan said all tests and engineering work had been completed.

He added: “This reserve is actually part of a much bigger source. God willing, much more will come.

“There will be no stopping until we become a net exporter in energy.”

President Erdogan said he hoped to start extracting the gas by 2023.

But energy experts say it could take up to a decade and billions of dollars of investment to get the gas into commercial use.

Turkey has also sent a ship to carry out a drilling survey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Turkey has rejected Greece’s complaints against the ship’s planned voyage as against international law

The Oruc Reis left port on 10 August, accompanied by five naval vessels. It was reported the next day to be sailing in waters between Crete and Cyprus.

This has infuriated the Greeks, as they disagree with Turkey over who holds the rights to certain areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Friday, President Erdogan said he intended to accelerate operations in the Mediterranean.