President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov instructed to find a solution to extinguish the burning gas crater in Darvaza at today's meeting of the Government, the Watan news program of the Turkmen television reported.
As the head of state noted, a huge amount of gas has been burning out in this area for many years. This negatively affects the environment and the health of people living nearby. It is also a waste of natural gas and substantial profits can be earned from it to ensure the well-being of the people.
In this regard, Deputy Prime Minister Shakhym Abdrakhmanov, who is in charge of the fuel and energy complex, was instructed to involve scientists, and, if necessary, foreign experts to find a solution to this problem.
“We establish and will continue establishing all the required conditions for the development of the giant reserves of hydrocarbon resources of an independent neutral Fatherland in the interests of our own people,” Berdimuhamedov declared.
One might recall that President of Turkmenistan first raised the issue of extinguishing the crater in 2010.
The burning gas crater in the town of Darvaza, popularly called "Gateway to Hell", located in the centre of the Karakum desert, about 260 kilometres north of Ashgabat, is a Turkmen tour highlight attracting attention of scientists and tourists.
In 1971, Soviet geologists discovered natural gas fields in this area, and when they drilled a well, they caused an earth fall - the upper layers of the soil simply fell into an underground cave, opening a large hole filled with gas. To avoid poisoning people and livestock with gas, geologists decided to burn it, believing that the fire would go down over time. But natural gas unearthed continues burning up-to-date. The diameter of the gas hole is 60 metres, the depth is about 20 metres.
In November 2013, the famous traveller and explorer George Kouronis from Canada descended to the bottom of the crater to do research and take samples. He managed to find bacteria living at the bottom of the crater at high temperature. These bacteria are found nowhere on the surface of the Earth and thrive in a small ecosystem at the bottom of a burning hot crater.