The new Black Sea hydrocarbon discovery, the largest in Turkey’s history, will enable the country to meet 22% of its gas demand for the next 40 years, Professor Mehmet Efe Biresselioglu, the head of Sustainable Energy Division and faculty member of the Political Science and International Relations Department at Izmir Economy University told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
The discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas reserves in the Black Sea, which was announced on Saturday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will allow demand to be met for 40 years based on average annual production of 10 bcm.
Turkey first announced the discovery of 320 bcm of natural gas reserves in the Tuna-1 location in the Sakarya gas field on Aug. 21, which was conducted by the Fatih drillship. The new find now brings the capacity up to 405 bcm.
"This amount marks the largest hydrocarbon reserve that has been discovered in Turkey's history,” Biresselioglu said, adding that from further drilling activities over the coming months in the Turkali-1 well in the Sakarya gas field, this amount could well be revised up should exploration yield positive results.
He detailed the significance of the new find by explaining that the new reserves would add three years to the length of time it can cover Turkey's gas demand.
"A gas discovery of 405 bcm corresponds to Turkey's natural gas demand for 10 years, while the previous discovery of 320 bcm covered the gas demand of around seven years," he said.
Turkey plans to start natural gas production by 2023, at an annual rate of between 5-10 bcm. The field is expected to reach plateau production of around 15 bcm by 2026.
The Sakarya gas field sits on a very strategic location close to Romania and Bulgaria's gas exploration areas where big energy companies have made previous investments. Because of this, he said production from these reserves could be easily commercialized.
- Benefits of discovery for Turkey
Biresselioglu argued that one of the most important advantages on offer in the Black Sea gas discovery is the decrease in the country's gas imports.
"There will be a considerable contribution to the country's economy and in decreasing the currently high energy-related account deficit. Additionally, Turkey can become an arbiter in natural gas production in the longer term, if larger reserves of natural gas are discovered in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean," he explained.
He also sees potential in the areas of international cooperation, exploration, production and export, particularly with regional countries.
"The country that will face the greatest impact from Turkey's gas discovery in the Black Sea along with the resulting changes in Turkey’s energy policy is Russia, even with Russia’s decreasing share in Turkey’s gas imports over the last years," Biresselioglu said.
He said the new gas find in the Black Sea has been elevated in importance given the timing of its discovery, which coincides with Turkey’s contract renewal period with its most important gas provider, Russia.
- Turkey discovers biggest Black Sea reserve comparatively
Oguzhan Akyener, the president of the Turkey Energy Strategies & Politics Research Center (TESPAM) said the discovery of an additional 85 bcm of natural gas reserves represents a 26% increase compared to the previous gas find of 320 bcm.
He said that considering the Sakarya gas field could reach plateau production of between 16 and 16.5 bcm, and as first production will start in 2023, he contended that nearly 30% of Turkey's demand could be met through these local sources by 2027.
Akyener also asserted that Turkey has discovered the biggest reserve or “a bigger piece of the cake” in the Black Sea when compared to those discovered in the Aphrodite, Calypso and Glaucus to the south of the Cyprus island in the East Mediterranean, which has cumulative estimated reserves of 319 bcm.
He envisages Turkey’s greater bargaining power against Russia, Turkey’s largest natural gas provider, and the supporters of the Southern Gas Corridor, the EU and the US, in the project that aims to reduce dependency on Russian gas.
"With these discoveries, the discourse that Turkey lacks oil and gas resources is doomed to the annals of history and will raise new hope for the country," he said.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu