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Experts: Black Sea gas significant enough to impact Turkish energy market

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Turkey’s steps after the natural gas discovery in the Black Sea are quite fast and the volumes are significant enough to impact the Turkish energy market, said Danila Bochkarev, an associate researcher from the Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in Belgium

Bochkarev told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Turkey’s discovery is especially important in the country’s context as the country depends on imports.

“Thus, it is both important commercially as it reduces the energy import bill – as well as inflation – in the times of expensive energy, and improves Turkey’s energy security when many countries try to secure supplies at any cost,” he said.

He said that the Black Sea is rich in oil and gas deposits, however, every possible future discovery should be judged case by case depending on geology, upstream costs and energy prices trend.

Vitaly Yermakov, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies Natural Gas Research Program also told AA that the first discovery of its own large gas field should help Turkey address its energy insecurity stemming from high dependence on gas imports and will improve its negotiating leverage with foreign suppliers.

“President Erdoğan’s publicly announced target for the start of production at Sakarya is 2023, and it undoubtedly ties in with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic on Oct. 29, 2023,” he said.

Yermakov said that this is a very ambitious task, and, most likely, the maximum possible production volumes at Sakarya, up to 10-12 bcm per year, or about one-fifth of the expected gas consumption by Turkey, in the most optimistic scenario can be achieved only by the end of the 2030s.

“The start of the construction of a 170-kilometer (105.63-mile) large-diameter gas pipeline at great depth from the offshore field to the mainland of Turkey is the first step in a large and a very complex project,” he added.

Yermakov said that in the wake of the euphoria from the opening of Sakarya, Turkey plans to redouble its efforts in exploration drilling on the deep-sea shelf in its economic zones in the western part of the Black Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“If Turkish geologists manage to discover new large offshore hydrocarbon deposits, this can significantly strengthen the country’s energy security and strengthen Turkey’s position as a transit corridor from Asia to Europe. In the near-term, however, Turkey will have to deal with extremely high gas prices for both pipeline gas and LNG that are going to add to the mounting inflationary pressures in the Turkish economy,” he explained.

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