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Türkiye ramps up its hydrocarbon explorations in the Black Sea

 As Türkiye ramps up its hydrocarbon explorations in the Black Sea, some expert takes a cautious position, saying it is challenging to estimate the Black Sea natural gas supply’s long-term potential.

During a recent event in Istanbul, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said that Türkiye will engage in explorations in three key locations in the Black Sea in 2024.

According to the minister, the country has planned new drillings and is determined to increase domestic resource exploration to reduce dependency on imports, which pose a heavy burden on the country as it struggles with economic woes.

Some experts, however, said that it is challenging to estimate the Black Sea natural gas supply’s long-term potential.

In 2020, Ankara announced the discovery of large natural gas reserves under the Black Sea, the largest natural gas reserve discovered to date in the seabed.

The Turkish government has stated that if fully extracted, the Black Sea reserves may supply one-third of the country’s growing natural gas demands for the next 25 to 30 years.

“It is difficult to assess the quantity and the quality of the gas discovered in the Black Sea,” Ali Arif Akturk, an Ankara-based energy policies expert, told Xinhua.

“We have to be realistic about production figures as it stands now. The Black Sea gas covers a limited amount of Türkiye’s huge needs,” he stressed.

Türkiye’s energy imports, which include oil, gas, and other products, were worth around 80 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, according to official data.

Akturk also pointed out that it will take years before the full extraction capacity is reached.

“Offshore exploration is a costly business,” Akturk said, adding that potential discoveries have to be commercially viable to start production.

A Turkish source told Xinhua that a total of 23 wells had been drilled so far in the main Sakarya gas field.

“New offshore drilling projects are on the agenda for this year with promising prospects,” the source added.

Bayraktar said in late January that the gas production from the Black Sea coast has reached 2.7 million cubic meters per day, and the eventual target aims to reach a level enough to supply up to 15 million households.

This year, production from the Sakarya gas field is estimated to reach 1.6 billion cubic meters, with the field’s first-phase maximum production set to reach 3.5 billion cubic meters, according to Bayraktar.

Türkiye is also exploring natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, but economic zone delimitation obstacles with regional countries are hampering its energy aspirations there.

Famagusta Gazette