Turkey will be more active in offshore oil and gas exploration with plans to conduct seismic studies in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea by the end of March or beginning of April, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening of the eighth general assembly of the Turkish Association of Distribution System Operators (ELDER) in Ankara, Albayrak explained that the 3-D seismic exploration studies would be conducted with two different vessels, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and another that Turkish officials will soon announce.
Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa explored oil and natural gas resources two years ago off the coast of Cyprus, but its activities were interrupted in March 2015 when tensions rose between the Greek Cypriot administration and the Turkish Cypriot government over ownership of the resources.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has since stated that the resources of the island belong to both communities.
"This will be an important year for sea exploration, oil and gas exploration. We will continue with two different vessels, one will explore the Black Sea and the other will explore the Mediterranean Sea. This year will be a more active year for us," Albayrak noted.
Turkey will not only conduct seismic studies, but will also start exploration studies and well drilling in the Mediterranean in the next five to 10 years, Albayrak said, adding that exploration in the Mediterranean, as a strategic part of Turkey, will allow the region to increase its presence in the global exploration industry.
"The more you search, the more you have the chance to find it. So we will search more. As I said, this will be an active year in the Mediterranean," he underlined.
Albayrak also highlighted that electricity production from domestic sources hit a record high last year at 49 percent -- a development he said will contribute positively to Turkey's current account deficit.
"Last year, the share of domestic coal in electricity production increased 23 percent and the share of renewables increased 31 percent," he explained.
Albayrak also underlined the steps taken to increase the country's gas storage.
"The country's daily natural gas output capacity increased to 240-250 million cubic meters from 190 million cubic meters. It will reach 300 million cubic meters this year," he concluded.