Turkey may drill new wells in Black Sea, says minister
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez has said that another exploratory natural gas well could be drilled in a field in the south or west of the Sakarya Gas Field in the Black Sea this year.
Turkey on June 4 announced the discovery of 135 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas reserves in the region, increasing the total reserves discovered to 540 billion cubic meters.
“We are far from meeting all of our needs, but we will significantly reduce our imports,” Dönmez said on June 7 at the fourth Turkey Energy and Natural Resources Summit.
“We can drill another exploratory borehole in the south or west of that field this year. The obscurity of such exploration activities is made with some estimations. But we are comfortable in the Black Sea right now. We are hopeful that we will find additional reserves in the Black Sea. I hope that we will start using that gas in 2023 unless there is a major setback,” he said.
He is optimistic that additional resources will be found in the region to cover Turkey’s residential power consumption for at least 25 years.
“In a field on such a scale, we can project a production and operation plan for 25 years on average. So we can speak about 15 bcm to 20 bcm of natural gas production per year at maximum levels,” he explained.
With Turkey’s large energy import bill reaching $40 billion on average over the last 10 years, Dönmez stressed the importance of decreasing import dependency.
Turkey’s gas discoveries in the Black Sea could halve the country’s annual natural gas import bill of about $12 billion with a production of 20 bcm per year, according to the Natural Gas Distribution Companies Association of Turkey (GAZBİR).
Turkey to expand renewable energy
The results from eight drillings in the eastern Mediterranean, however, have not matched the successes in the Black Sea so far, although evaluations on the more positive results are currently taking place, Dönmez said.
The energy minister also pressed on the mutual benefits of an agreement on maritime jurisdictions with Egypt, which to date has only had indirect contact but lacked the communication by the Energy Ministry.
“If conditions are suitable, there might be some contacts,” he said.
He also touched on Turkey’s renewable energy expansion through Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA) tenders that aim to install 10,000 megawatts (MW) of solar and wind energy each by 2023.
Turkey will administer 2,000 MW of YEKA tenders for wind and 1,000 MW for solar this year, Dönmez said, adding that the mining sector also shows much promise with forecast mining exports this year expected in the region between $5 billion and $5.5 billion.