Turkey discovers 320 billion cubic metres natural gas reserve in Black Sea
Turkey has discovered its largest ever natural gas reserve in the Black Sea with a capacity of 320 billion cubic meters, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced, stressing that initial findings reveal that this reserve stands as just a part of even bigger reserves in the same area.
“Turkey has discovered its biggest natural gas [reserve] in Turkish history in the Black Sea. Our drilling ship, Fatih, has found 320 billion cubic meters natural gas in our Tuna-1 area,” Erdoğan said in an address to the nation on Aug. 21 in Istanbul.
Turkey, heavily dependent on foreign energy resources, has long been exploring the hydrocarbon reserves in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean through the deep-sea drillings since the early 2010s. It has accelerated its explorations after it purchased three drilling ships, Yavuz, Kanuni and Fatih under a new energy policy launched in 2017.
“We conducted nine deep-sea drilling and we could be successful in the latest one, thanks to our Fatih drilling ship,” Erdoğan stated, naming the Tuna-1 reserve as the Sakarya gas area.
Although the amount of the natural gas discovered in the region is around 320 billion cubic meters and could meet Turkey’s needs only for around fewer than 10 years, Erdoğan said data collected as a result of tests and studies show there is strong possibility of larger natural gas reserves in the same area.
Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez echoed Erdoğan’s expectation as he informed that the seismic data reveals that there are two more layers of similar structure below and that more gas will be discovered in the area.
The next step Turkey will take is to prepare a road map to determine the production model and to launch construction, voicing his government’s objective “to serve natural gas discovered off the Black Sea for public use in 2023.”
Erdoğan said the discovery of the gas reserve pushes Turkey’s to the highest league in regards to the energy-related activities.
Turkey to accelerate operations in Med Sea
After the discovery in the Black Sea, Turkey’s next target is to find the hydrocarbon reserves in the Mediterranean, Erdoğan stated, informing that the Kanuni drilling ship will start its works in the region after its maintenance works will be concluded at the end of 2020.
“We are going to accelerate our operations in the Mediterranean at the end of this year. We are hoping to give another good news from the Mediterranean,” he said, vowing that Turkey will not cease its efforts until it becomes a net exporter of the energy sources.
“We are determined to fully resolve our energy issue,” he stated.
In reference to ongoing standoff with Greece over the overlapping continental shelf claims in the Mediterranean, Erdoğan said Turkey will continue to its path without having an eye to the rights of the others.
“Everybody that stands against us on this matter, particularly Greece, know that we are right,” Erdoğan said, urging the EU to not “confuse the minds” by issuing “nonsense maps” over the continental shelves of the countries, referring to the Seville map.
President Erdoğan urged the EU to not “spoil” Greece over the ongoing dispute in the region.
‘Account deficit issue to be off agenda’
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the discovery of the natural gas will have an important impact on the Turkish economy.
“New era begins for Turkey where the current account deficit issue will be off the agenda thanks to the natural gas discovery in the Black Sea,” he said.
For his part, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter that Turkey has now become a playmaker in the field of energy. “Thanks to the good news given by President Erdoğan, today, taking a huge step towards full independence. Turkey becomes a playmaker in the energy field as well! Target 2023!” he said.