AA - Leiv Eiriksson, a giant oil drilling platform, will pass through the Istanbul Strait next week to enter the Black Sea where Turkey and Brazil will carry out joint oil explorations. In April 2009, state-owned petroleum companies, Turkey's TPAO and Brazil's Petrobras, signed an agreement for oil exploration in the Black Sea.
The deep-water platform, one of world's largest drilling rigs, will pass through the Istanbul Strait, also known as the Bosphorus, on January 2. A ceremony will take place during the passage of the platform that set off from Norway some months ago.
The 120-meter tall tower of the platform was cut in order to allow it to pass under two bridges along the strait. Leiv Eiriksson will drop anchor off Sinop. Its operations are expected to begin in mid-February after the tower is re-assembled. It will drill in water depths down to 6,000 meters with a daily cost of up to USD 1 million. The platform will remain 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.