Turkey says it begins drilling in second Black Sea borehole

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey began drilling at a second borehole in a Black Sea natural gas field where it made its largest ever discovery earlier this year, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Thursday.

In one of the world’s biggest finds this year, Turkey said in an update last month it discovered 405 billion cubic metres of natural gas in the Sakarya field about 100 nautical miles north of the Turkish coast.

The Fatih drill ship that made the initial discovery is now working the second borehole called Turkali-1, Donmez said on Twitter, adding drilling would last 75 days.

Ankara also plans to send a second ship called Kanuni to the Black Sea for operations.

If the gas can be commercially extracted, the discovery could transform Turkey’s dependence on Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan for energy imports. It would also help narrow the country’s chronic current account deficits.

Ankara expects first gas flow from the Sakarya field in 2023. One source close to the matter said an annual gas flow of 15 billion cubic metres was envisaged from 2025.

Turkey has also been exploring for hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean, where its survey operations in disputed waters have drawn protests from Greece and Cyprus.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer