Turkish researchers have discovered a unique method to explore potential oil and natural gas reserves by examining natural groundwater.
This method can be applied to areas that match specific criteria allowing oil and gas reserves to be determined by examining the total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) levels of groundwater, Atilla Karataş, associate professor at Marmara University's Geography Department, told Anadolu Agency (AA) Monday.
Karataş explained that this method of examining resurfaced groundwater is not as costly or difficult as conventional seismic methods Turkey has utilized, which do not always prove successful.
"Hydrocarbon areas in Turkey are dissimilar to those around the world in many aspects and therefore, we need a new method to study them. Through this new method, we started studies to survey and take natural groundwater samples from identified areas according to their paleogeography, geological and tectonic characteristics," he explained.
With financial support for these studies from Marmara University and Istanbul Technical University (ITU), field studies in İzmir, Bursa, Ankara, Niğde and Nevşehir have already started with promising results.
"We examined nearly 25-30 samples from each area and these samples have been already studied in internationally accredited laboratories," he said.
'Turkey has strong oil and gas reserve potential'
Yildıray Palabıyık, assistant professor at ITU's Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Department, said from exploration conducted in target areas in Turkey, they confirmed new oil and gas finds.
"We have conducted a very comprehensive study in areas that might have promising reserve potential and selected locations to take water samples. These areas were not selected by chance but are areas with a very strong geological basis. The results reveal these waters have high TPH levels and show that Turkey has strong oil and gas reserve potential," he said.
Hydrocarbon exploration activities in Turkey generally focus on areas in the southeast and the Thrace region. The southeast holds nearly 2 billion barrels of oil reserves, but these reserves are difficult to develop using conventional methods, according to Palabıyık.
Government involvement expected for drilling studies
Geologist Adil Özdemir also stressed the cost effectiveness of this new method compared to conventional methods, which is set to decrease exploration costs by at least 50% while ensuring 100% reliability.
Özdemir also underlined the importance of support from the public and private sectors to conduct studies in each area that ranges between 20-50 kilometers (12-31 miles).
"Our expectation from the government is to conduct drillings in the specified fields that have already been examined by national and international laboratories. These drillings need to be done in depths of 1,000, 750 and 500 meters rather than 2,000 or 1,000 meters," he concluded.
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