The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has purchased its own drilling vessel. Initial drilling activity will be conducted in the Mediterranean, within the territorial waters of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak told a gathering of energy professionals last month in Antalya.
The vessel, DeepSea Metro 2, is capable of drilling 12,000 feet underwater and can drill 40,000 feet deep below seabed.
The minister announced the purchase during the Eighth Energy Summit held on Oct. 10-11 in Turkey’s Mediterranean port city of Antalya. The new purchase marks a critically important step in the field of oil and gas exploration for Turkey, which previously purchased its own seismic exploration vessel.
“The drilling vessel will be arriving before the end of this year,” Albayrak said as he announced the purchase. “We will be conducting our first drill in the Mediterranean as early as the beginning of the next year,” the minister went on to explain, adding: “We want to have our own vessel, our own engineers work in this field now. There may be areas we’re not familiar with, it’s not like we’re a country that has been operating oil wells in the oceans for the past 100 years, but we need to get there. When a country pays this much for energy every year, and when you are surrounded with so many resources, you need to be able to do this by yourself. If one third of the world’s oil and gas [reserves] are in this region, then we must employ more effective, different methods, we must come up with new methods.”
Recalling Turkey’s previous efforts in oil exploration, Albayrak quoted a well-known saying by Albert Einstein, that goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” and added, “So, we’re expecting to reach new and better results through new methods.”
Noting that Turkey boasts a number of private companies that hold the potential to be involved in oil exploration, Albayrak said: “We will more actively embark on exploration in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, firstly ourselves, and later on jointly with the private sector, with second and third parties. This will also help create a major advantage as regards lowering cost. For a certain amount [you’d have to pay] another party for a single well, you will be able to open two wells. And every single penny we have is valuable, we cannot just go ahead and spend carelessly.”
‘We have high hopes
of the Mediterranean’
Adding that the government was “particularly hopeful of the Mediterranean,” Albayrak went on to say: “We will start drilling in spots where we believe hold the greatest potential for resources, either in Cypriot or in Turkish territorial waters. The rest will depend on luck. But before we leave it all to luck, we will do our best. We will not just be taking chances as though we were rolling a dice; we will make use of all the scientific data, all the seismic analyses, and we will make a targeted effort. The process will yield [steady] results. I have high hopes. I come from the private sector, and I always prefer to come up with something after it has become tangible, concrete. Our people and our private sector need to know that we will be proceeding with very firm steps.”
The TPAO exploration vessel DeepSea Metro 2 was built by South Korea’s Hyundai. Maritime authorities regard DeepSea Metro 2 as an advanced exploration vessel. According to information compiled by the Turkish independent energy news website Enerji Günlüğü, the vessel will cost US$200 million for the TPAO, including additional expenses required to begin exploration.
Akkuyu groundbreaking set for this year
Minister Albayrak also added during his speech at the summit that work toward putting together a groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin, Turkey’s first such power plant, later this year is under way with an aim to make it a presidential-level event that would bring the Turkish and Russian presidents together.
“We have planned for the first unit of the plant to go into operation in the year 2023. This will be the most historic year for our republic. We cannot think of a better present [to our country] from our ministry if we can finalize work [on the first unit] by Oct. 29, 2023, the 100th year anniversary of our republic,” Albayrak added.