Turkey’s giant offshore natural gas discovery of 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) in the Black Sea is worth $80 billion in line with current price trends, Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) head told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the biggest gas discovery in the country’s history. The gas discovery was made at a depth of 2,100 meters below the seabed in the Sakarya Gas Field, located around 170 kilometers off the Black Sea coast.
Birol said the discovery is considered a “giant” find in international terms and by comparison is equal to all Norway's discoveries in the North Sea since 2010.
He stressed its importance for Turkey, a country that is 99% dependent on gas imports, commenting that it would help Turkey reduce its current account deficit and natural gas import bill.
An investment of approximately $6 billion is necessary to start production from the field, which is targeted for 2023, he said.
According to Birol, this ambitious 2023 target is not impossible as it has been done with other gas discoveries but only provided its investment is prioritized and official procedures are dealt with promptly.
Turkey imports around 45 bcm of natural gas annually, costing approximately $12 billion.
“This will help Turkey to reduce its import bill but it does not totally solve its trade deficit problems,” Birol warned.
- Paving way for offshore wind investments
He noted that Turkey could avail of cooperation negotiations with oil service and engineering companies, as many have seen major layoffs in the oil and gas industry, which has suffered from a 50% year-on-year drop in investments in 2020.
“Thousands of people working in oil service and engineering companies are unemployed, as there is no investment in this field. Thus, Turkey’s discovery came at a very good time to allow the country to be very strong in potential cooperation negotiations with these companies,” Birol said.
He also advised that Turkey gain more experience in the offshore industry and related technologies.
“This experience and know-how could give Turkey the opportunity to build offshore wind projects like Denmark and Norway,” Birol said.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya