Black Sea oil can meet Turkey's needs for 40 years

Mar 03, 2009 01:00 AM

The Black Sea has a massive amount of oil and natural gas resources, comparable to those of the Caspian Sea -- enough to meet Turkey's needs for the coming 40 years, the general manager of Turkey's state-owned oil exploration and drilling company has said.
Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) General Manager Mehmet Uysal noted that estimates based on the findings of sonar-equipped oil exploration ships show that there are at least 10 bn barrels of oil reserves beneath the Black Sea. In addition to this, some 1.5 tcm of gas lie beneath the sea, he said, and added that the US's ExxonMobil and Brazil's Petrobras exploring for oil in the region. Uysal further underlined that these resources will help Turkey slash its costs and that it plans to pay $ 600 bn for the import of crude oil in the next 10 years.

TPAO conducted two-dimensional seismic exploration studies on a 60,000-km area of the Black Sea. Three-dimensional seismic radar equipment was used to search another 10,000 km for oil beds, he said.
Uysal spoke about TPAO's performance last year, its exploration and future projects. He said the company is exploring off the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts as well. TPAO has also participated in exploration activities in foreign countries.

Highlights from Uysal's speech:
-- Turkey consumes 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day and imports 560,000 barrels of it.
-- TPAO has found vast oil and gas reserves in the seas surrounding Turkey and is working intensively reach these reserves.
-- Drilling will start in the Cudi field, in south-eastern Anatolia, in a few months.
-- The company is attempting to find proper partners for oil and natural gas extraction projects in Iraq.
-- It will form a partnership with Syria's national oil company to conduct joint production activities.
-- Another company will be established with Turkmenistan to carry out exploration.
-- TPAO plans to take advantage of South American countries' strategy of cooperation with other countries' nationaloil companies.
-- TPAO plans to subcontract projects in Russia and Ukraine.

TPAO owns oil reserves in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan that are enough to satisfy Turkey's thirst for oil for two years, Uysal said, noting that another five wells will be drilled in Kazakhstan between 2009 and 2011. The TPAO manager said the company had invested $ 270 mm so far in exploration in these countries and had already earned more than it invested.
In the fields that were subcontracted to TPAO in these countries, at least $ 100 mm (EUR 76 mm) worth of reserves are still there, he added. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan's oil wells have a daily production capacity of 35 mm barrels.

He said TPAO produced 500 mm cm of natural gas, largely in the fields in the western Black Sea region, adding that the company is planning to accelerate production here. Currently, Turkey has three platforms to drill for natural gas in Akcakoca, a coastal district in Duzce province in the western Black Sea region.
Uysal also notes that a fourth platform is being built in Romania for installation in Akcakoca.

He provided information about TPAO's exploration studies in Iraq. In this war-torn country, the demographic structure -- especially the ethnic makeup -- is a vital parameter in deciding where to initiate oil exploration, he underlined, adding that the company will submit bids in consortiums and will establish partnerships in this country.
Addressing Iran, Uysal said preliminary work to commence exploration in the South Pars region is still under way. The total amount of investments in this country will reach $ 5.5 bn (EUR 4.2 bn) to produce 16 bn cm of natural gas, he said.

"Turkey will not need to import gas and oil by 2023"
TPAO's sales revenues increased from $ 500 mm (EUR 380 mm) to $ 2.2 bn (EUR 1.7 bn) from 2002 to 2008, while revenues from investments rose from $ 228 mm (EUR 173 mm) to $ 668 mm (EUR 508 mm) in the same period, Uysal said. Meanwhile, oil production increased from 50,000 bpd to 70,000, he noted, concluding his speech with a hope that Turkey will become a self-sufficient country in energy and will no longer be dependent on oil and gas-producing countries by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the republic.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler was also present at the meeting.

Upon a question, the minister said he met with the Russian and US ambassadors to Turkey and spoke about recent energy projects in which Turkey is a vital actor.
"We have been meeting with the ambassadors of these countries very frequently," he commented.
Guler also said he will meet with Russian Energy Minister Sergei Ivanovich Shmatko during the official visit of the Russian foreign minister to Turkey and with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller. In these meetings, Turkey and Russia will specifically deal with the details of projects between Turkey and Russia.

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