The latest drilling ship that Turkey acquired last year is due to arrive in the country on May 19, the energy and natural resources minister said.
Fatih Dönmez was speaking at the opening of the National Technologies in the Petroleum Industry (PEMT’22) meeting hosted by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
He said the fourth drilling ship is about to complete its two-month voyage and entered the Mediterranean a few days ago.
The ship is currently approaching Taşucu port in southern Turkey’s Mersin province, where it will stay for about two months for drilling preparations, he said.
Dönmez said that the fourth ship will start its first drilling activities after the painting process and other controls.
It is a seventh-generation deep-sea drilling ship, Dönmez said, explaining: “There is no ship higher in technology than this. Our other drilling ships belonged to the class that we call sixth-generation. However, our fourth ship is a seventh-class ship that is one level above them.”
Dönmez said the country is taking new steps every day regarding introducing the Black Sea gas discovered in the Sakarya gas field to the system. Located some 150 kilometers (93 miles) off the coast of Turkey in the Black Sea, the Sakarya gas field is home to the country’s largest-ever natural gas discovery. The Fatih drilling ship has discovered 540 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas there since August 2020.
The size of the discovery is said to be enough to meet household demand for 30 years. Ankara aims to start pumping gas from the field to its main grid in 2023, with sustained plateau production starting in 2027 or 2028.
Dönmez said 10 deep-sea drillings have been completed so far in the field.
“We continue our drilling operation in our eleventh well. We have tested the daily gas production of 2.1 million cubic meters (mcm) in the Türkali-2 well, where we lit the first flame of the Black Sea gas, and 1.7 mcm per day in the Türkali-1 well.”
“As a result of our tests, we predict that we will produce an average of 3 mcm per well per day,” he said.
The fourth drilling ship is a 238-meter-long and 42-meter-wide vessel weighing 68,000 gross tons with a maximum drilling depth of 12,200 meters. It has a tower height of 104 meters and a crew capacity of 200.
The ship is currently called “Cobalt Explorer” but will be renamed.
Dönmez added that the engineering and construction activities for the seabed systems, submarine pipeline and onshore processing facilities that will transport the natural gas to land and process it continue as planned.
Highlighting that state support will be allocated to the Sakarya field, Dönmez said the project will be subject to customs duty exemptions, VAT exemptions, VAT refunds and tax reductions.
“The envisaged incentive amount will reach approximately TL 145 billion. The supports will be valid for 11 years, starting from 2021,” he stated.
The energy minister went on to say Turkey has been investing in infrastructure and human resources for a long time to replace imported energy products with domestically produced ones, and these efforts have begun to bear fruit.
Renewable energy technologies are one of the best examples of this, Dönmez said, noting: “Today, we have domestic technology production of 75% in solar energy, 60% and above in wind and biomass energy, and 55% in geothermal energy.”
Highlighting the end product-oriented technological transformation initiated in mining, Dönmez said, “We have commissioned end-product-oriented gold, silver, iron-pellet, copper and aluminum integrated smelters so far. We aim to lay the foundations of our two domestic lithium plants that will operate at full capacity this year.”
On the nuclear technology, Dönmez said the goal is to transfer know-how and create technology unique to Turkey.
“I believe that our young people studying abroad in the field of nuclear technology will play important roles in the localization of nuclear technology. We will first build our own power plants with the domestic technologies we will develop in this field. We then may carry this engineering and technology experience to abroad,” the minister stressed.
Dönmez noted that the country managed to save TL 123 million with a total of 113 indigenization projects since 2019 in the field of oil and natural gas.
Stating that they have recently put technology independence as a key target alongside energy independence, Dönmez said, “With the integration of resources and technology, we will demonstrate our trademark, our unique approach in every field of energy.”
“We need a Turkey that produces, develops and exports its own products. In other words, we have to switch to a build-and-plug model, not a buy-and-take model,” he said.