Norwegian oil exploration platform "Leiv Eiriksson" passed through the Istanbul Strait Thursday on its way to the Black Sea where Turkey and Brazil will jointly explore oil.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told a press conference held during the passage of the giant platform, that the joint oil exploration aimed at reducing Turkey's dependency on foreign gas and oil.
He said petroleum products constituted 20 percents of Turkey's imports adding that this should be reduced.
Yildiz said the USD 450 million investment was jointly undertaken by Turkish Petroleum Corporation and Brazil's Petrobras.
He emphasized that should their efforts to find oil fail the total amount would be paid by Petrobras, noting that otherwise TPAO would share the burden.
Yildiz said the platform was rented for three years with a daily rental rate of 1 million USD noting that the rental duration could be extended for two more years.
In April 2009, state-owned petroleum companies, Turkey's TPAO and Brazil's Petrobras, signed an agreement for the exploration of oil in the Black Sea.
Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2009, 17:31
The deep-water platform, one of world's largest drilling rigs (120-meter tall), which set off from Norway months ago, was cut in order to let it pass under two bridges over the strait.
Leiv Eiriksson will drop anchor off Sinop. Its operations are expected to begin mid-February after the tower is re-assembled. It will drill in water dept down to 6,000 meters with a daily cost of up to 1 million USD. The platform will stay in the Black Sea for five years.
Turkish officials are very hopeful about drilling operations in the Black Sea which is believed to have huge underwater oil and natural gas reserves.
Recent seismic researches estimate a 10-billion barrel oil reserve in the Black Sea.