Delek Drilling considers the Turkish government's exploration activities in the oil and gas-rich Mediterranean and offshore Turkey as a great move, Delek Drilling and Avner CEO Yossi Abu told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday.
Speaking exclusively to AA, Abu said that Delek Drilling is willing to share its substantial experience with Turkey and invest so the country can develop its own resources.
"I think that, as Delek, we have a lot of experience in exploration in the region with huge success, and we will be more than happy to come and invest in exploration and then obviously production of natural gas sources in Turkey," he declared.
Turkey launched new exploration and drilling activities in the Mediterranean Sea on April 21 with Turkey's first seismic exploration vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa.
A very important foundation for the successful exploration and production business is in know-how, according to Abu.
"I think that due to our successful project offshore in the Levant basin, we have a lot of experience and a lot of know-how and maybe we can bring Turkey to a place in which it can have some of its own resources. So we will be more than happy to invest in Turkey. But anyhow it is a great move by the government," he declared.
Abu also expressed his belief in the potential for more oil and gas discoveries in the Levant basin and in the Turkish region, adding, "I think it is a great move from the Turkish government's perspective to try and explore for natural gas sources in Turkey. I think that there is potential for oil and gas discoveries offshore Turkey."
Delek Drilling is the exploration and production (E&P) branch of the Delek Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in Israel, which is also involved with financing and insurance among other sectors.
Abu said that Delek Drilling was the first company to make offshore discoveries in Israel with the Mari B project. Following this discovery, the company with their long-term partner Noble Energy discovered the Tamar field, which was the largest discovery of natural gas in the world in 2009.
"Delek Drilling is active in E&P activity offshore Israel mainly in the last twenty years. For many years, Israel basically tried to find oil and gas through governmental companies. Somewhere in the mid-90s, Israel privatized the sector and Delek Drilling started to become active," he explained.
"We discovered Leviathan, a larger deep water offshore discovery in the last decade. We also have three other discoveries in the world, so we have more than 40 trillion cubic feet (tcf), around thousand billion cubic meters (bcm) of proven reserves offshore Israel. They are more than enough to supply the Israeli market and other markets in the region," he said.
The East Mediterranean region has several natural gas fields which as yet have not been commercialized via pipelines or LNG facilities, such as the Leviathan field with a capacity of 620 billion cubic meters (bcm) and the Tamar field with 283 bcm in offshore Israel.
Abu said that the company is building on its business as a sole supplier from the Tamar field with its decision to invest in the first phase of the Leviathan project to supply the Israeli market and countries in the region including Palestine, Jordan and Egypt.
"Now we are talking about a second phase of the Leviathan project, which could potentially be either a pipeline to Egypt to fill up LNG plants or a pipeline to Turkey, and this is the reason why we are visiting Istanbul and Ankara from time to time," Abu explained.
- "Israel can play huge role in supplier diversification"
Energy security is a vital issue for any country, Abu said noting that Turkey's recent comprehensive strategic approach to bolstering domestic resources makes a lot of sense.
In April, Turkey announced its 'National Energy Strategy' in which Turkey would focus its diversification of energy sources on local resources such as coal and renewables and conduct seismic studies for oil and gas drilling activities. With this strategy, Turkey aims to consolidate its position centered among energy-rich countries to reduce its energy import dependence.
One of the most important issues for any country is stability of energy supply and the ability to produce domestic energy at any time, and to survive challenges that usually come from time to time, Abu explained.
Diversification of suppliers is a key feature in Turkey's strategic program, Abu said, adding that, "Here we definitely can play a huge role with our Leviathan gas and EastMed gas, while adding a new source for the Turkish market. It would not only be a new source, but it would be a very reliable source. We are producing gas for almost 15 years for the Israeli market and during that time, we had almost 100 percent reliability."
He also shared that should Turkey be connected to the Leviathan field, it would be able to gain access to 620 bcm of gas reserves, which he asserted would be preferable to the $2 to $3 billion of investment required to have 4 bcm of gas storage in Turkish Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) facilities.
"With that $2 billion, you can have 620 bcm of gas storage. This is exactly what we can provide to the [Turkish] government," he asserted.
Abu hailed the constructive and professional discussions that have been held with the Turkish Ministry of Energy, which he claimed were well informed and focused on their strategy.
"In the near term, there are two optional projects - LNG facilities in Egypt and Turkey. Discussions are ongoing for both alternatives, but I really believe that there is a window of opportunity to achieve a pipeline to Turkey from Israel. We are very committed to this project and we definitely see a real opportunity to realize the project in the near term," he asserted.
Abu acknowledged that there is a great fit between the needs of the Turkey's gas market and that of Israel as peak seasonal demand of both countries differ ensuring greater security of supplies.
"I think it is not only the stability of supply, redundancy in the system [storage capacity] and diversification of suppliers, but there is a also a good combination because the peak demand in the Turkish market is mainly in winter when Turkish market demand is for more gas but it is the opposite to our peak demand in the Levant basin, which is basically for more supplies in summer. So there is a good fit between these thus creating more certainly and more benefits for both sides," he concluded.
By Ebru Sengul