Türkiye’s Gas hub, higher reserves during 2022 accelerate renewables

ANKARA: The major upgrade in the estimate of natural gas reserves in the Black Sea, accelerated energy supply security efforts amid the global energy crisis and record renewable installations and production defined Türkiye’s energy outlook in 2022.
The year has been particularly marked by Türkiye’s ramped-up hydrocarbon explorations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea with its three drillships – Fatih, Kanuni and Yavuz.
The efforts ended with Türkiye revising its estimate of natural gas reserves in the Black Sea upward by nearly a third after a new field was located and after appraisal work at a previous site.
The total volume of gas Türkiye has gradually discovered in the offshore fields now amounts to 710 billion cubic meters (bcm), a find that is estimated to have a market value of $1 trillion (TL 18.72 trillion).
The increase came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 26 said reserves in the Sakarya field were revised to 652 bcm, up from 540 bcm previously. Another 58 bcm of gas was found in another offshore field nearby.
Türkiye announced its first gas discovery about two years ago in the Tuna-1 well, which was then estimated at 405 bcm and was the world’s largest offshore find in 2020. It made another discovery in 2021 in the Amasra-1 well, which was at the time said to be holding around 135 bcm of gas. It lastly discovered an additional 58 bcm at the Çaycuma-1 field.
It plans to make the first gas delivery to the national grid by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Türkiye as of June launched and has almost completed the pipelaying process of the 170-kilometer-deep (105-mile-deep) seabed pipeline that will feed the Black Sea gas into the grid. –Agencies
Construction of the onshore gas processing facility that is being set up at the port of Filyos in the northern province of Zonguldak is also almost complete.
In the process until the reserve revisal, Türkiye had drilled 13 wells in the Sakarya field. It looks to add another 20 or 25 wells in the period ahead.
About 10 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day is expected to be transferred in the initial phase, while the infrastructure has been set up to enable this figure to peak at 40 million cubic meters through 2026.
Set to be backed by the government, the projected fixed investment to be made by the state energy company Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in the Sakarya field has been determined as around TL 145.2 billion and an additional 1,018 people are expected to be employed for the project.
Meanwhile, Türkiye has also been expanding its survey and exploration fleet. It now boasts four drillships, after Abdülhamid Han, the latest and most advanced of the vessels, arrived in mid-May.
The seventh-generation vessel joined Fatih, Kanuni and Yavuz, all sixth-generation ships purchased in recent years.
Dubbed “a symbol of Türkiye’s new energy vision,” the 238-meter-long and 42-meter-wide vessel is one of the five seventh-generation drillships globally. It is capable of drilling down more than 12,000 meters, features a tower height of 104 meters and a crew capacity of 200.
Abdülhamid Han was sent off for its first mission in the Mediterranean on Aug. 9, before it started operations at the Yörükler-1 well almost a week later. TPAO announced on Dec. 5 that the drillship had started operations at the Taşucu-1 well.
To meet the growing demand for energy and mitigate the effects of the global energy crisis, Türkiye has stepped up efforts to secure gas supplies, as well as to diversify sources with renewables and nuclear projects.
In addition to expanded infrastructure, the new year will witness a major milestone, as Ankara aims to start operating the first reactor at Akkuyu, its first nuclear power plant, by the middle of 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Türkiye.
Türkiye is almost completely dependent on imports to cover its energy needs, which leaves it particularly vulnerable to rising costs that skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last year, 45% of the gas used in Türkiye came from Russia and the rest from Iran and Azerbaijan.
The country’s annual gas consumption has risen from 48 bcm in 2020 to a record 60 bcm in 2021, according to official figures.
Erdoğan said 2022’s consumption was expected to stand at around 53.5 bcm. Earlier estimates had put the figure at up to 63 bcm, but the power generated from renewable resources this year drove the gas consumption downward.
2022 witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony of the fourth reactor of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, built by Russia’s state-run nuclear energy agency Rosatom on the Mediterranean coast.
The scheduled completion of the first unit along with the delivery of nuclear fuel is set for the first half of 2023. The remaining three reactors are due to start operation by the end of 2026, at a rate of one per year to ultimately have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts (MW).
Once completed, the plant is expected to produce up to 10% of domestic electricity needs.
Rosatom in October announced it also started negotiations with Türkiye for the construction of another nuclear power plant in Sinop on the Black Sea coast.
Separately, Türkiye in early October announced it had agreed with Azerbaijan to double the capacity of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) from 16 bcm of gas per year to 32 bcm.