Turkey's first drilling vessel, named Fatih, formerly the Deepsea Metro II set off for the country's first deep drilling project in the Mediterranean on Thursday, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said.
Albayrak made the announcement at an official sailing ceremony in Kocaeli province, adding gas and oil drilling operations would be conducted mainly by Turkish engineers based on a data analysis.
"Today, we are sending Fatih to [Mediterranean resort city of] Antalya. The vessel will conduct drilling at a depth of 2,600 meters (1.61 miles) in the Mediterranean. This will be a historical step for Turkey," he said.
Albayrak also noted that a second drilling vessel would be sent to the Black Sea later in the year.
"With the two new vessels, we will explore every inch of our seas," he stressed. "Turkey will be the star of the new era in relation to energy and drilling activities."
Turkey has already undertaken oil and gas explorations using two seismic vessels.
Turkey's first seismic vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa has been conducting operations in the Mediterranean since April 2017 while a second vessel the MTA Oruc Reis is ready for exploration.
By Murat Temizer