Turkey Announces Discovery of Large Natural Gas Reserve

August 21, 2020
President of Turkey

By Adedapo Adesanya

Turkey has announced the discovery of large natural gas reserves off the Black Sea coast, days after its President promised a “good news” that would usher in a “new era” for the energy-dependent country.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the amount of gas discovered is 320 billion cubic meters, adding that he hopes to start extracting and using the gas by 2023.

He had told energy executives on Wednesday he will announce a “good news” on Friday that will herald a “new period” for Turkey.

The comments reportedly drove up shares in Turkish energy firms and lifted the lira from this week’s record low.

If confirmed as recoverable resources, the reserves could ease the country’s dependence on costly energy imports and could potentially meet Turkey’s energy needs for 20 years. It could also help the country’s currency which has plummeted to record lows.

The Turkish drilling ship, Fatih, had been carrying out exploration operations in an exploration zone known as Tuna-1, about 100 nautical miles north of the Turkish coast in the western Black Sea for the past month. The sector is near where Romania has also found gas reserves

However, there have been cautioning that it could take seven to 10 years to start production, and estimated investment costs at between $2 billion and $3 billion.

“We have carried out nine deep-sea drillings in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea through our Fatih and Yavuz ships so far. We have had the honour of giving our nation the good news that it has been waiting for.”

“There is no stopping and resting until we become a net exporter in energy,” Mr Erdogan added.

“Our goal is to make Black Sea gas available to our nation in 2023,” said Mr Erdogan on Friday. The year 2023 is the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

The discovery comes as tensions between Turkey and Greece are running high over oil and gas exploration in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean. Greek and Turkish warships have been shadowing each other after Turkey sent a research ship to look for potential undersea oil and gas deposits.

The country is also at odds with Cyprus over energy exploration around the island. It has dispatched warship-escorted vessels off Cyprus’s coast to drill for gas, insisting that it’s acting to protect its interests and those of Turkish Cypriots to the area’s natural resources. The Greek Cypriot government of the ethnically split island has slammed Turkey for encroaching in its waters and economic rights.

The discovery of the natural gas reserve would come as a welcome respite for the country which is dependent on Iran, Iraq and Russia for its energy and is grappling with economic woes. Last year, energy imports cost the country $41 billion.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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