ExxonMobil in talks to explore for Turkish shale gas, official says

ExxonMobil in talks to explore for Turkish shale gas, official says

ANKARA – Reuters
ExxonMobil in talks to explore for Turkish shale gas, official says

Energy Ministry’s General Directorate of Petroleum Affairs head Selami İncedalcı. AA Photo

ExxonMobil is in talks with state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) on exploring for shale gas in the country’s southeast and northwest regions, said Selami İncedalcı, head of the Energy Ministry’s General Directorate of Petroleum Affairs.

Investors from the United States, Europe and Canada are also interested in Turkey’s shale gas and oil, İncedalcı said in an interview with Reuters.

İncedalcı said the U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil “is coming to Turkey for a partnership with the TPAO.”
Recalling the company was previously interested in sea exploration operation, he said this time around the company was interested in searching for resources in Turkish lands.

Turkey, keen to reduce its dependence on imports, has stepped up exploration efforts in the Black Sea and Mediterranean in cooperation with foreign companies. Turkey has yet to find any oil.

A new legislation, which was passed into law May 2013, aims to boost dynamism in petroleum markets – particularly in exploration activities – by easing circumstances for private actors and ending rentiers in the sector.

According to İncedalcı, Turkey’s new Petroleum Law has grabbed investors’ attention by easing exploration activities in the country: “There are investors who have asked for an appointment with us for the upcoming period and we will meet them in September,” he said.

Investment in the sector is expected to at least double or triple in the near future with a boost from the new regulation, İncedalcı stressed, underlining how the new law also paves way for more research by lifting limitations on license numbers.

Turkey has already undertaken a series of shale gas exploration activities around the country. The country has been drilling below 3,000 meters with Shell in the eastern city of Diyarbakır and the government had said it is planning such activities in the Thrace Basin.

Shell and TPAO began exploring for shale gas in the eastern province of Diyarbakır’s Sarıbuğday-1 natural gas field in September 2012.

İncedalcı said preliminary examinations in Diyarbakır hinted at shale oil potentially being present, as well as other areas that have already been explored.

“They [foreign companies] will have the right to search and produce shale gas and oil, as well as hydrocarbons,” he said.

“We have seen that the current locations with shale gas potential also have high shale oil potential. We have obtained both oil and gas [samples],” İncedalcı added.