Photo: Illustration; Source: ExxonMobil

Turkey mulls cooperation with Chevron, ExxonMobil on Black Sea find

Turkish authorities have shared data on its Black Sea discovery with a duo of U.S. energy majors with possible gas extraction cooperation in mind.

Turkey shared its data with Chevron and ExxonMobil regarding its 540 billion cubic-meter Sakarya gas field in the Black Sea, an official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

So far, Turkey planned to develop the field – its biggest-ever discovery and among the world’s largest last year – on its own.

According to the Turkish official said that until now the government had been cool to foreign corporate interest in the gas discovery unveiled last August.

But now … Exxon Mobil and Chevron have met with Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) and received data regarding the discovery. The two companies reviewed the technical data and decided to give more time to work in this field together“, the official said.

Turkey plans to put the field online in 2023, but must first build the offshore pipeline network and processing facilities. The field is expected to reach sustained peak production from 2027.

If a collaboration with U.S. companies was to take place in the Black Sea, it would make the situation there even more complicated as Russia has its claims in those waters and there already are tensions between the European Union, the U.S., Cyprus and Turkey over claims of offshore rights.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his country was determined ultimately to become a net exporter and start commercial production from the Sakarya field would decrease or eliminate the country’s dependence on gas from Russia, Iran, or Azerbaijan.

Erdogan will meet U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday for the first time since Biden took office and any kind of energy cooperation with U.S. companies would be seen as a way to calm relations between the two countries.

As for the Sakarya field, Erdoğan announced in the summer of last year that the field held 405 bcm of natural gas. The field is located some 100 nautical miles north of the Turkish coast.

TPAO started drilling operations at the Amasra-1 well exploration well in the North Sakarya field in April 2021. Earlier this month, the Turkish national oil and gas company said that the Amasra-1 added 135 bcm to the previously discovered volume of 405 bcm.

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It is worth noting that both options for cooperation – either Chevron or ExxonMobil – would not be ones with inexperience in the region. Namely, Chevron is involved in Israeli offshore gas development while ExxonMobil is an operator of a Romanian block in the Black Sea adjacent to Turkish waters and near the Sakarya field.