Turkey has found natural gas worth more than $500bn in the Black Sea, says Fatih Dönmez, the country’s energy and natural resource minister. 

The total volume of reserves found in the Black Sea are 710 billion cubic meters, one of the largest ever found there. The reserve would be enough to meet the energy demands of all households in the country for the next 35 years, the minister added. When industrial consumption is taken into account, the discovery will meet the country’s need for the next 15-20 years. 

Turkish Petroleum has announced the completion of pipe installations connecting their energy base in the Black Sea to the Sakarya Gas facility. The natural gas from the Sakarya field will commence transmission to the Filyos facility on 20 April, in a ceremony to be attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Sakarya field will initially produce around 10 million cubic meters per day, gradually increasing the capacity to pump up to 40 million cubic meters per day within three years, Dönmez told CNN Turk. Turkish state-run importer BOTAS will distribute the gas to households from May onwards.

Increasing domestic production

The news could help Turkey move towards greater energy independence. Presently, Turkey imports oil and gas from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, and LNG from Qatar, the US, Nigeria and Algeria. The Black Sea discoveries will decrease Turkey’s dependence on natural gas imports, which currently account for 99% of country’s consumption as per IEA estimates

In October 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Turkey become the next “gas hub” to redirect gas to the EU after the Nord Stream pipeline was damaged, allowing Russia’s energy leverage over Europe.In the months since, Turkey has positioned itself as a potential channel for Russian oil to reach EU while circumventing sanctions. Ankara’s overall imports of Russian diesel topped 10 million barrels in March, an increase of 50% from February. 

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