Turkey to revise upward estimate of Black Sea gas discovery: Bloomberg

Turkey is preparing to revise upward its estimate of its natural gas discovery in the Black Sea, Bloomberg reported, citing sources with direct knowledge of the plans.

The Bloomberg report says Turkey expects to raise its estimate for the amount of natural gas discovered in the Black Sea and plans to announce the new guidance as early as next week, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Turkish government will outline a sizable revision to the initial discovery of 320 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, unveiled in August, once exploratory drilling is completed this month, the people said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the find.

Turkey in August announced its biggest natural gas discovery, a 320 billion-cubic-meter field in the Black Sea that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said is part of even bigger reserves and could come onstream as soon as 2023.

“This reserve is actually part of a much bigger source. God willing, much more will come,” Erdogan said. “There will be no stopping until we become a net exporter in energy.” 

Ankara has dramatically expanded energy exploration in the Black Sea and contested waters of the eastern Mediterranean. It’s keen to find sizable energy reserves to ease its heavy reliance on imports from Iran, Iraq and Russia, and support one of the biggest economies in the Middle East.

Shares of Turkish oil refiner Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri AS, or Tupras, gained as much as 2% following the news, while petrochemical company Petkim Petrokimya Holding AS climbed as much as 4.5%. They were trading 1.7% higher and 3.8% higher as of 4:05 p.m., respectively. Shares of energy companies Aksa Enerji Uretim AS and Aygaz each rose 2.3%.

Turkey currently imports nearly all of its energy needs, and the discovery is promised to help drive down its current account deficit.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez on several occasions said data suggested more natural gas would be found as drilling continues deeper under the seabed. A senior energy ministry official in September said that Turkey hopes to announce the new discovery in October.

The country is now said to be preparing to update the amount as soon as this week after further exploration drilling is completed, Bloomberg said on Friday, citing the sources.

The Turkish government is about to disclose a “sizable revision” to the initial estimate, they noted.

3rd drillship leaves Mersin bound for Black Sea

Earlier this month, Dönmez said that Turkey’s third drillship would also be deployed and begin exploration for natural resources in the Black Sea in the first months of 2021.

“We hope to begin operations in the first months of next year, and with that, Kanuni will be working together with the Fatih drillship in the Black Sea,” Dönmez said.

Kanuni will support the Fatih drillship, which found the 320 billion-cubic-meter natural gas field some 100 nautical miles north of the Turkish coast.

Kanuni on Saturday set sail from the country’s southern Mersin province on its Black Sea drilling mission.

Kanuni was added to Turkey’s fleet this year, arriving in Mersin’s Tasucu district on March 15 for renewal and upgrade studies.

The vessel is now scheduled to arrive at Haydarpaşa Port on Istanbul’s Asian side before setting sail for operations in the Black Sea.

On Sept. 30, Dönmez said that tower disassembly works would be conducted for Kanuni to pass under the three Bosporus bridges.

Before Turkey’s procurement, the drillship had been sitting idle at a Welsh port town for nearly two years. It has an estimated market value of $120 million (TL 943 million), and Turkey reportedly bought the drillship for nearly $40 million.

The sixth-generation ultra drillship was built by South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries and used by Brazil’s Petrobras between 2012 and 2015.

The Kanuni is 227 meters (744.8 feet) long, 42 meters wide and has a draft of 12 meters. Its equipment can reach up to 11,400 meters below sea level and can drill to a depth of 3,000 meters below the seabed.

The name Kanuni, which means the “lawgiver” in Turkish, stems from Suleiman I, also known as Suleiman the Magnificent. He was one of the greatest leaders of the Ottoman Empire and was its 10th and longest-reigning sultan, ruling from 1520 until his death in 1566.