Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) has made a discovery of one billion barrels of oil in the south-east province of Sirnak, which borders both the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Syria.

The mega discovery, which has been announced barely ten days ahead of the country’s presidential election, is Turkey’s largest onshore oil find.

TPAO has drilled 2,771m down and discovered a more than 162m-deep light oil-bearing reservoir, according to Reuters.  

The national oil company of Turkey also noted that it will investigate other prospects nearby.

Called Sehit Aybuke Yalcin-1, the well is located 20km north-west of Cizre town. It currently produces 10,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

By the end of the year, the state-owned oil corporation plans to drill back-to-back appraisal wells and complete the whole-field development plan.

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Turkish Petroleum added that it aims to produce approximately 100,000bopd, which could more than double the country’s oil production.

Turkey, which imports almost all of its energy needs, discovered 150 million barrels of oil in the Mount Gabar Area in December 2022.

At the time of the discovery, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “It is one of the top ten onshore discoveries in 2022. The reserve value is approximately $12bn (Tl234.03bn).”

Turkey is mainly dependent on imports from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran to meet its energy needs.

In mid-October last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested to Erdogan that Russia sell more gas through Turkey and transform it into a new supply hub to maintain Russia’s energy leverage over Europe. 

Through the Gas Hub project, Turkey positioned itself as a potential channel for Russian oil to reach the EU and the US, circumventing sanctions. Ankara has more than doubled its imports of Russian crude since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022.