Turkey could send several more drills close to current boreholes where teams see signs of natural gas, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said in an interview with Turkish media.

Turkey's Energy Minister Fatih Donmez is seen during a TV interview with A Haber in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 24, 2021.
Turkey's Energy Minister Fatih Donmez is seen during a TV interview with A Haber in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 24, 2021. (AA)

Turkey may drill more boreholes in its search for gas in the eastern Mediterranean, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said in a TV interview.

Turkey has already opened eight boreholes in the region, Donmez said, adding that while there were signs of natural gas, there had been no economically significant discovery.

"Our experts are checking data after each drill with the seismic data obtained previously. We could have several more drills close to the ones (boreholes) where we see signs of gas," he told broadcaster A Haber.

"Time will tell, but we are hopeful. We evaluate that there is a potential," he said.

Tensions flared between Turkey and EU members Greece and Greek-administered Cyprus over energy resources and jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean in August, when both Turkish and Greek navy frigates escorted exploration vessels.

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Largest Black Sea discovery

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Ankara last year sent several drillships to explore for energy in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting its rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favour of resolving outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighbourly relations, dialogue, and negotiations.

EU leaders in March made good on a 2016 promise to deepen trade ties with Turkey, but also warned Ankara to expect sanctions if it restarts energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Delivery from a natural gas reserve in the Black Sea, Turkey's largest historical discovery, is expected to begin in 2023.

If the gas can be commercially extracted, the discovery could transform Turkey's dependence on Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan for energy imports.

READ MORE: Turkey sends Oruc Reis seismic vessel back to East Med

Source: Reuters