KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan’s president on Saturday congratulated Turkey over the natural gas discovery in the Black Sea.
“I must congratulate our friends, President Erdogan and the people of Turkey, on their biggest natural gas discovery in the Black Sea. Friends revel and rejoice in the happiness and prosperity of friends. Mashallah,” Arif Alvi said in a Twitter post.
Development remained top trends on Twitter
The development remained one of the top trends “HayirliOlsunTurkiye– #PakGreetsTurkey” on Twitter and other social media sites, with users congratulating Ankara over historic discovery.
On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced some 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves were found after the drillship Fatih started work on July 20 off the Black Sea coast.
The size of the discovery dwarfs all the natural gas Turkey has ever produced – 16.6 billion cubic meters – by twenty-fold and is expected to create $65 billion in economic value.
Imran Khattak, a ruling party lawmaker, and chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Energy, also congratulated the people of Turkey.
In a Twitter post, Khattak said: “Congratulations to Turkish people on the discovery of large natural gas reserves off the Black Sea coast. It’s a piece of good news that would usher in a ‘new era’ for the energy-dependent country.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the drilling ship Fatih, which has been operating in the area since July, had found 320bn cu m (11.3 tr cu ft) of gas.
He said it was Turkey’s biggest natural gas find to date.
If Turkey can extract the gas commercially, it will be able to reduce its reliance on imported energy.
President Erdogan said all tests and engineering work had been completed.
He added: “This reserve is actually part of a much bigger source. God willing, much more will come.
Turkey consumes around 45 BCM of gas a year, down from 50-55 BCM just a few years ago as some power plants have switched to renewable sources.
Developing offshore wells can take at least 5-6 years, but the Turkish policymakers can still drive a more immediate gain from the find by using it as a bargaining tool, Sohbet Karbuz, a Paris-based oil and gas analyst
BREAKING — Turkey has discovered a gas reserve as big as 320 billion cubic meters in Black Sea, Erdogan says.
He says this is the largest ever gas discovery in history pic.twitter.com/CYGoa0PdPf
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 21, 2020
“There will be no stopping until we become a net exporter in energy.”
President Erdogan said he hoped to start extracting the gas by 2023.
But energy experts say it could take up to a decade and billions of dollars of investment to get the gas into commercial use.
Natural gas discovery a game-changer
Turkey has also sent a ship to carry out a drilling survey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Senator Siraj-ul-Haq, chief of the country’s mainstream religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, termed the development “beginning of a new era” for Turkey.
“Happy to hear this good news regarding the discovery of large natural gas reservoir off of the Black sea coast. I congratulate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, government and the people of Turkey over this great blessing of Allah,” Haq said while speaking to Anadolu Agency.
“Prayers of oppressed Muslims around the world are with President Erdogan and Turkey, who always raises voice for them,” he added.
The Oruc Reis left port on 10 August, accompanied by five naval vessels. It was reported the next day to be sailing in waters between Crete and Cyprus.
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 20, 2020
This has infuriated the Greeks, as they disagree with Turkey over who holds the rights to certain areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.
An immediate benefit for Ankara is that it now has the leverage to negotiate its existing gas import agreements.
Any substantial discovery of natural gas reserves in the deep waters of the Black Sea will have a far-reaching impact on Turkey’s economy, which relies on imports to meet almost all its energy needs.
The foremost benefit comes within a couple of years as Ankara will be able to reduce its energy import bill and stop the drain on its foreign currency reserves.
Last year, Turkey spent $41 billion on energy imports. The payments it makes to buy gas from other countries such as Russia and Azerbaijan have been a drag on its currency for years.
“It will solve a lot of our energy supply security problems. Turkey right now is only producing about 1 percent of its natural gas locally – the rest is imported,” says Mustafa Topuz, a founding partner in Ankara-based MNCM Consulting
Anadolu with additional information from GVS News Desk