Turkish energy minister hopeful from Shell, TPAO drilling in Black Sea

Turkish energy minister hopeful from Shell, TPAO drilling in Black Sea

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Turkish energy minister hopeful from Shell, TPAO drilling in Black Sea

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız poses at the joint press conference of Shell and Turkish Petroleum, Jan. 6. DHA Photo

Shell and Turkish Petroleum have begun drilling activities in the Black Sea this month, one year earlier than originally planned, representatives from the companies said Jan. 6 at a press conference to launch the activities.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said he was optimistic for the drilling, as the site is very close to where Romania has made new discoveries.

“Our new target is to build a drilling platform for around $1 billion,” he said.

The new seismic exploration ship, which was built in the northwestern district of Tuzla, is expected to be ready in March, Yıldız added.

Yıldız noted a total of 45 companies made 226 drillings in 2014. Some 90 exploration wells and 98 production wells were opened with a hitting ratio of around 33 percent.

“Thanks to these findings, we saved $1.9 billion from our import bill in 2014,” he noted.

$300 million in investment

“We have begun drilling activities almost one year earlier than we had planned to begin, thanks to the coherent partnership with TPAO and support from the authorities,” said Shell Turkey Country Director Ahmet Erdem.

The 3-D seismic data for the drilling was collected by the TPAO ship Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, he added. Around $300 million is invested in the drilling activities by the companies.

Both companies will open an exploration well 100 km offshore in the western Black Sea to depths below 2,000 meters. The drilling ship will be supported by three ships and two helicopters. Around 240 people are expected to work at the site.

The main aim of the project is to collect as much data as possible, said Deputy President of TPAO, Besim Şişman.

Turkey pays $6 billion less for oil

Turkey has paid some $6 billion less to buy oil than it should have thanks to decreasing oil prices, said Energy Minister Taner Yıldız. He added that the amount saved might increase to $12-13 billion this year, as long as there is no rise in oil prices.

“Our citizens will then feel the positive effects of the decreasing oil prices,” he noted.

He also said the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has lost around $500 million in revenue due to the plunging oil prices. The loss will be compensated by re-arranging its expenditures, Yıldız added.