Turkey’s shale gas chance

Turkey’s shale gas chance

Following Energy Minister Taner Yıldız’s recent announcement that indications of possible shale gas resources had been found in the Central Anatolian provinces of Ankara, Konya and Kırşehir, we started to frequently talk about a “shale revolution.”

A shale revolution, which would change the entire energy equation of the world, according to the International Energy Agency’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol, has finally turned up. When I scanned my personal archives, I found a former article of mine written in April 2012 on that subject.

In that article, I gave some figures that were mentioned in a meeting held in Istanbul with the cooperation of Sabancı University and MIT Energy Enterprise. During the meeting, MIT professor Melanie Kenderdine said that Turkey’s shale gas potential was estimated to be around 420 billion cubic meters, which corresponds to the 10-year energy needs of Turkey.

The figure suggested by the Turkish Association of Petroleum Geologists (TPJD) President İsmail Bahtiyar; however, was even above Kenderdine’s estimations. According to Bahtiyar, Turkey has 13 trillion cubic meters in shale gas reserves, which could meet the country’s energy need for 40 years.

When these contradictory numbers are considered, it becomes clear that Turkey is first required to determine its true shale gas potential in an accurate way.

Consequently, it is a crucial step for Taner Yıldız to announce that the work with regard to shale gas has started and international energy companies who want to conduct research on this subject have been invited to Turkey.

So, in which part of Turkey is this shale gas located?

Professor Kenderdine put special emphasis on the Black Sea region, while presenting some photos taken by NASA during the meeting. According to experts, a zone of shale gas that extends from the Baltic shores to Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, could also extend to the Black Sea.

It is known that Canada-based TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd. is conducting research in Thrace, while Shell is conducting search operations in the southeastern part of Turkey, especially around Diyarbakır.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corporation is also showing an interest toward the southeastern part of Turkey. Along with Konya, Kırşehir, and Ankara, the regions announced by Yıldız, the eastern province of Erzurum was also suggested among the cities with rich shale gas potential.

It is certain that Turkey, which spends an annual 60 billion dollars on energy imports, has a great opportunity ahead due to shale gas.