The long-awaited drillship Deepwater Champion finally passed through the Bosporus on Friday en route to the Black Sea province of Samsun to start looking for oil.
The new platform arrives as part of a recent deal between the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and ExxonMobil, a leading international oil company, over joint exploration for oil off the Black Sea coast. The American energy giant ExxonMobil’s drillship had been under construction in South Korea. It is expected to start oil exploration in the Black Sea before the end of April once the required feasibility tests are completed.
Speaking in İstanbul on Friday, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said the government has faith the Black Sea oil exploration studies will bear fruits in the long run. The minister emphasized drilling would continue until oil sources at desired levels can be found.
Deepwater Champion is capable of drilling as deep as to 12,190 meters and was built in South Korea for ExxonMobil. The ship had arrived on March 14 in Çelebi Bandırma Harbor in the western province of Balıkesir. Earlier on Friday, the drillship departed from the Çelebi Bandırma Harbor. The 98-meter long derricks of the drillship were lowered to 56 meters in order to help it pass under the two bridges -- Boğaziçi and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges -- spanning on İstanbul’s Bosporus. The 42-meter long derrick will be carried to Samsun and will be re-assembled there. The Black Sea is estimated to hold some 10 billion barrels of oil, enough to cover Turkey’s oil needs for the next 50 years.