Turkey May Work with Foreign Companies to Bring Online Giant Black Sea Gas Find

October 23, 2020

Fatih Drillship - Credit: Mustafa Ata/MarineTraffic
Fatih Drillship - Credit: Mustafa Ata/MarineTraffic

Turkey may cooperate with foreign firms to bring online its giant gas find in the Black Sea, made in August this year.

As reported by Reuters, the country's energy minister Fatih Donmez said on Thursday that Turkey would operate the gas field, but might collaborate with foreign companies when it comes to equipment and detailed work.

Turkish national oil and gas company TPAO struck the giant gas discovery at the Tuna well in the Black Sea off the country's northern coast in August using the Fatih drillship. 

Turkish President Erdogan at the time said the field - now named Sakarya - contained 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas, making it Turkey's largest ever gas discovery. He last Saturday upgraded the estimated to 405 billion cubic meters, citing the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters 

The Black Sea gas discovery is one of the largest offshore discoveries this year and Turkey's largest ever. It has been seen as potentially transformational for the country heavily reliant on gas imports. Apart from the benefit of producing its own gas, Turkey could also use the discovery as a bargaining chip for gas import negotiations with current suppliers.



Another drillship for the Black Sea Ops

While the Fatih drillship is currently the sole TPAO rig in the Black Sea region, it will soon be joined by the Kanuni drillship. TPAO bought the drillship (formerly known as Sertao) at an auction in February, for a reported sum of $37.5 million.

Erdogan said Saturday that the Fatih would soon start drilling at the same field in November, following maintenance works, and that the Kanuni was headed for the Black Sea, too.

The country's oil company TPAO shared on social media on Thursday that the Kanuni had arrived at the port of Haydarpasa where the drilling tower would be removed from the rig to enable the drillship's crossing under the Bosphorus bridges on its way to the Black Sea.

TPAO said a few days ago that it planned to drill two appraisal wells back to back soon with the drillship "Fatih," while "Kanuni" will be "carrying out the well tests."

Further, TPAO said that Sakarya 3D, "the largest seismic acquisition in the Black Sea," would start in November, with the aim to explore the potential in the broader basin.

The company has also said that a Pre-FEED agreement has been signed for the concept selection to produce the first gas by early 2023.

Analysts have dubbed the expected 2023 start-up target "ambitious," with Rystad Energy expecting the field to come online around 2028. Rystad has recently said that the gas discovery could save Turkey $21 billion in gas import costs



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