Exxon Mobil Corp and Turkey’s state-run oil company, TPAO, have signed a deal for the joint exploration and development of oil and natural gas in the Black Sea, the AP reported on Wednesday. (UPDATED)

Turkey imports almost all of its oil and has turned to a policy of prospecting for offshore oil in the Mediterranean and Black Sea in order to reduce dependence on foreign imports.

TPAO estimates the Black Sea oil reserve consists of more than 10 billion barrels of oil, which could meet Turkey's oil needs for the next 50 years.

"I hope that this joint venture will be crowned with the discovery of oil and natural gas and that our dependence on foreign countries will be reduced," Turkey’s Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said at Wednesday's signing ceremony.

Guler said exploration costs could mount to $450 million.