Authorities in Turkmenistan are preparing to seal off the Darvaza natural gas crater, often addressed as the “Gateway to Hell” by locals, which has been burning for over five decades.
Bayrammyrat Pirniyazov, the head of Turkmenistan's Natural Gas Institute, said during his speech at an international investment forum in the capital Ashgabat that scientists were studying the geological structure of the crater, and it would be sealed off as a large amount of natural gas was continuously burned and it harmed the environment.
It was further noted during the forum that Turkmenistan was currently assessing offers from abroad to shut down the Darvaza gas crater and scientists from Belarus and Slovenia demonstrated their willingness to take part in the project.
Also, Odile Renaud-Basso, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said his organization was ready to cooperate with Turkmenistan to reduce the harmful gas emission into the atmosphere and stop the gas leak in the crater.
The Darvaza gas crater was discovered in excavations carried out in the 1970s during the period of the Soviet Union.
The gas coming out of the crater that formed after the collapse of soil was set on fire as it harmed the environment and living space around the area.
The crater has a width of 60 meters (196 feet) and a depth of 20 meters (65 feet), and it has been burning for the past 50 years due to the natural gas that it contains.