Turkey revives hopes on Black Sea sources

Turkey revives hopes on Black Sea sources

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey revives hopes on Black Sea sources

The seismic ship, which conducts two and three dimensional seismic surveys in Black Sea, is seen. Norwegian company Polarcus’ ship was named ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa,’ after TPAO bought it for $130 million. DHA photo

The hopes of Turkey’s state-run oil researcher, Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), for potential Black Sea sources have been revived again after years of failed attempts, an official has said, adding that the company was currently in talks with two global oil explorers for the region.

“TPAO’s operations in the Black Sea leave a great deal to be desired considering Turkey has a 1,650-kilometer coast,” Erdal Coşkun, TPAO’s exploration manager, said during a two-day Black Sea Oil and Gas Conference that ended yesterday. “But we’re hopeful to obtain results with the new deals with other oil explorer companies and thanks to the better-than-expected performance of Turkey’s new seismic vessel, ‘Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa,’ which began operations in the region a few months ago.”

Turkey’s exploration activities in the Black Sea basins date back to the early 1970s, but the country, desperately searching for energy, has fostered its operations there only in the last 10 years. TPAO had established several joint venture projects with giant international companies including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Petrobras and BP but failed to accomplish significant discoveries.

Talks with new actors

International actors’ interest in the region has freshened with a mouth-watering discovery by Romania in the Neptune block in the Black Sea, Coşkun told the Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of the conference.

TPAO and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell have already begun to explore jointly for oil in the Black Sea with a deal reached in February. According to the deal, Shell is bearing the cost of deep-sea operations while drilling is jointly funded.

Coşkun said now two other partnerships in the region were in the pipeline for TPAO.

“We’re currently negotiating with two companies for two different wells. One of them is entering the region for the first time, but we had a partnership in the Black Sea with the other one,” Coşkun said, without giving any further details about the names.

In his remarks Coşkun also praised Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa’s performance in the region and said the seismic vessel, which conducts two- and three-dimensional seismic surveys, might serve in Shell’s own operations as well. After completing its duty in the Black Sea, the vessel will go to off-shore fields of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea to explore for energy.

TPAO confident for Lebanon bid

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

The companies TPAO will jointly apply with for the rights to explore for oil and gas off the coast of Lebanon have been determined and the consortium will place its bid in November, said Erdal Coşkun, TPAO’s exploration manager.

Encouraged by Cyprus’ and Israel’s impressive oil and gas reserve findings, Lebanon has decided to get its share from Mediterranean sources and kicked off the bidding process for offshore oil and gas licenses.

A total of 52 companies from 25 countries submitted applications during the pre-qualification round.

“The process is going smoothly for Turkey,” TPAO vice president Yurdal Öztaş told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Neither manager specified the name of the firms Turkey has partnered up with.

The Lebanese authorities will finalize their decision by next February, Coşkun said.