Turkey may not be a significant supply centre but it is a significant oil and gas demand centre in the MENA region, making it an export destination for oil from major regional players in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well as extra-regional players in Russia, Kazakhstan and Africa. Furthermore, it is a compelling transport route, along which much more oil transits than is consumed. Turkey has conventional proven oil reserves of 295 million barrels (or about 4.5 days’ worth of world oil production). These are mostly located in the Batman and Adiyaman provinces in the south-east (which is also where most of Turkey’s oil production occurs), with additional deposits found in Thrace in the north-west. Turkey’s oil production peaked in 1991 at 85,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), but declined over the next 13 years to a low of 43,000bbl/d before experiencing a modest revival in early 2004. Yet although Turkey’s production of liquid fuels has increased slightly since 2004, it falls far short of the country’s annual needs, with 2012 production (nearly 60,000bbl/d) providing for only about 10% of national consumption.
Proven natural gas reserves in Turkey amount to 6.17 billion cubic metres (BCM). The country produces a very small amount of natural gas, with total production amounting to 22 billion cubic feet (BCF) in 2012 and providing less than 2% of consumption. Turkiye Petrolleri A.O. (TPAO), BP, and Royal Dutch Shell account for most of the country’s natural gas production. In recent years, a number of natural gas fields have been brought on line in the Black Sea, including Akçakoca, East Ayazli, Akkaya and Ayazli. Despite the limited proven reserves, gas exploration efforts have increased, particularly offshore. Supermajor Royal Dutch Shell is poised to spend $300 million on an exploration programme in the Turkish Black Sea, and ExxonMobil, Chevron and Petrobras have ongoing exploration programmes there. Exploration for unconventional (shale) gas reserves has also increased. Despite the ongoing struggle for Kurdish autonomy by the PKK and potential spillover from the war in Syria, Shell has an agreement with TPAO for shale gas exploration, with the Turkish firm taking a 70% share of production and Shell receiving 30%.
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