The country has for decades looked to the Black Sea shelf with the hope of finding significant deposits of oil and gas viable for development in marine conditions that are far from simple.
The Black Sea is deep and on the sea floor are accumulations of poisonous hydrogen sulfide. It is thick with gas hydrates. And the geology of the Black Sea shelf is hardly ideal. It is made up of igneous rock, hardly given to seismic activity. Yet, the shelf is considered tectonically unstable.
Previously detected reserves of gas totalling 320 billion cubic metres (bcm) in the Tuna-1 (Danube-1) sector was not considered viable for development. But this year, the Turkish research drillship Fatih observed further gas reserves of 85 bcm, bringing the total known size of reserves in the area now known as Sakarya to 405 bcm.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey intended to resolve technical issues quickly and begin drilling in the deposit in order to start producing its own gas from 2023.
If Turkey follows through with this plan it will be nothing less than a technological breakthrough, carried out in such difficult conditions.
Turkey now receives gas under long-term contracts with Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. It remains a major importer of Russian gas, though the amounts it receives are declining g. In 2019, Gazprom supplied Turkey 13 % less gas than previously and this year, supplies have dipped by a factor of 1.7 times.