Turkey is planning to start new exploratory drilling in the Black Sea in late 2021 or early 2022, according to the country’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez on Thursday.
Speaking during a live broadcast aired on TRT Haber television channel from Turkey’s first drillship Fatih, Donmez said seismic research at the Sakarya Gas Field, which extends to 11,000 square kilometers in an area of 320,000 square kilometers in the Black Sea, was completed.
'This is a big field, there are more places to search in the Black Sea,' Donmez said, stressing that more geological studies were needed in the area.
Turkey’s largest gas find of 405 billion cubic meters (bcm) in capacity was discovered by the country’s first national drillship, Fatih, in the Sakarya Gas Field in the Black Sea last year.
Last month, Turkey announced a second discovery of 135 bcm, bringing the cumulative gas discovery total to 540 bcm.
These discoveries are significant for the country, which is very dependent on expensive imports to meet its energy demand.
'When we look at our primary energy resources, we import about 70% of the energy resources we need and these include oil and petroleum products as well as natural gas. Turkey imports 98% of the natural gas it consumes, which is around 50-55 bcm per year,” Donmez said.
The 540 bcm of gas recently discovered in the Black Sea will be brought online in Turkey by 2023 to alleviate gas imports for the next 10 years, Donmez said.
He also confirmed that the country would continue its exploration activities in the Black Sea to reduce external energy dependency, and to this end he said the government is planning to add a fourth drillship to its fleet of vessels that are equipped with cutting-edge technology.
'At the end of this year or at the beginning of next year, we can conduct another exploratory drilling in a field farther west than our current position in the Black Sea,” he said.
By Sibel Morrow