As efforts to get the natural gas found in the Black Sea to residences at the end of March continue, there is reason to be hopeful for more reserves, according to Melih Han Bilgin, general manager of Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
"We have very strong technical reasons to be hopeful," Bilgin said, adding that the production facility for Black Sea natural gas has been completed, and the stage of connecting the production line with transmission has been reached.
Speaking to a group of journalists at the facilities in Filyos, where Black Sea gas will reach the land, Bilgin said that the main reason of Türkiye's current account deficit is the energy imports and noted that there is a monthly deficit of $8-$9 billion that needs to be covered.
All equipment necessary to carry the Black Sea gas to residences was placed mechanically and the latest tests are being carried out, Bilgin said.
"We are doing thousands of tests," he added.
"In case of failure in one of these tests, we have to go back and check the process again from the beginning. Therefore, we do all the tests from A to Z in our commissioning processes in order not to leave the slightest gap. We have a total of 992 major tests, in addition to a number of small tests. Around 63 percent of the 992 major tests have been completed."
Bilgin stated that the necessary measures were also taken regarding the precautions taken for cyberattacks.
He said that the process should be handled outside of political issues.
"Duties are being done on behalf of the nation, of course, the work done will produce daily political results," he said.
"But when we say 30-40 years of producible reserves, not all of them will fill our safes tomorrow. We're talking about 35 years. At the first stage, we will produce 10 million cubic meters per day with the facility we have established at sea. Instead of spending $9 billion a month, we will spend $8 billion in energy exports. In other words, there is no such thing as 'let's announce gas discovery because there is an upcoming election,'" he said.
Bilgin said that they received service from foreign ships, but that the domestic "Mukavemet" ship would do some of the work done by those ships.
"We will create an ecosystem in the Turkish offshore industry," he said.
"We can only exist by improving the ecosystem, by increasing the number of companies, people, technicians, engineers, and sailors that serve this business. So, new ships will come. It may not be a drill ship, but other ships will be added to the fleet."
Bilgin also noted that Turkish engineers have had a vast information on the structure and properties of the Black Sea.
"There is no one who knows the geology of the Black Sea better than we do, no one who can drill wells in a more economical, faster and accurate way," he said. "Turkish science, Turkish petroleum is the master of the Black Sea."