The start of Turkish natural gas production from the Black Sea may be delayed by up to a month after staff had to leave to care for relatives affected by February’s earthquakes, Bloomberg reported.
“There may be a slight delay,” the state-run Anadolu Agency cited Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez as saying. “It seems it will likely be in April,” he added. The previous target was the end of March.
Staff from areas hit by the Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed over 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria had to leave to look after their families, but some have started to return, Dönmez said.
Boosting Turkey’s domestic energy production is a key pledge of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who faces the toughest election in his 20-year rule in May.
Turkey, which currently imports almost all of its gas, says the offshore fields in the Black Sea hold around 710 billion cubic meters of the fuel.