Turkey's oil company Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) drilled 73 wells in 2018 and up to Feb. 6, the company's oil production reached 136,000 barrels per day, an all-time high, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez.
"In 2019, the target is to drill 139 wells in Turkey to increase this figure even further," the minister said on Monday.
Turkey has limited domestic energy resources and mainly depends on expensive energy imports for its consumption, which constitutes the biggest share of the current account deficit. The country strives to discover new oil and natural gas sources, and also heavily invests in renewable energy and domestic coal.
Turkey will be able to decrease current account deficit by TL 5 billion owing to the natural gas production from new fields, Dönmez said. During the flare lighting ceremony of new natural gas wells in Silivri district of Istanbul province, the minister said that Turkey's efforts in drilling activities in on and off-shore fields will continue in order to increase domestic production capabilities.
The minister officially started the production in Batı Çeltik-1 and Batı Değirmenköy 4-5 natural gas fields in Istanbul, which is owned by TPAO.
Dönmez said that the natural gas reserve of the fields reaches up to 3 billion cubic meters (bcm).
New wells have an annual production capacity of 300 million cubic meters, and the production is enough to meet the consumption of 300,000 households for 10 years, he added.
"We will not give up searching for natural resources, and will serve them to our nation," he said. "Both state and private companies are working for exploration and production, and they are developing their know-how skills in order to reach a commercially viable level." Turkey has been conducting intensive drilling operations in the Mediterranean over the recent period. It started its first deep-sea drilling offshore near Antalya on the Mediterranean coast on Oct. 30.
"Our explorations in the Mediterranean continue. Our Fatih drilling vessel has currently reached a depth of 4,200 meters. I think there is a possibility for us to get results within this month," Dömez said.
Drilling operations that started on Nov. 26 in the shallow waters off Mersin in southern Turkey are also ongoing. Last Friday, the minister said following seismic surveys conducted by the two seismic vessels in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Turkey made a small gas discovery in the Thrace region. Turkey will continue exploration by drilling four times per year, two done with the existing Fatih drillship and two with a new vessel, which is expected to make its way into the country's territorial waters in the Mediterranean around Feb. 20 to begin exploration.
Fatih, a 229-meter vessel, can drill to a maximum depth of 12,192 meters. The first well is to reach a depth of 5,500 meters, according to reports.
Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, Turkey's first seismic vessel, was bought from Norway in 2013 and has been conducting surveys in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
MTA Oruç Reis, which was built by Turkish engineers in a local shipyard in Istanbul, has been operating since late June 2017.