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Turkish upstream operator TPAO will begin tests next month on the three wells drilled to date at the 405 Bcm Sakarya gas field in the Black Sea, Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez said April 20.
Donmez said the tests would be carried out by TPAO'S newest drill ship, the Kanuni, starting with the Turkali-2 well, completed on March 31, before moving on to the Turkali-1 well that was completed in January and the Tuna-1 well drilled in mid-2020.
Donmez did not say how long he expected the tests to last or whether he expected the results to lead to a revision of the estimated size of the Sakarya field.
Turkey announced the discovery of Sakarya in August following the drilling of the Tuna-1 well by TPAO's drillship, the Fatih.
Reserve estimates were first announced as 320 Bcm, but were later increased to 405 Bcm after further drilling revealed a second, deeper reservoir.
No results have yet been announced for the Turkali-1 and Turkali-2 wells, which were also drilled by the Fatih.
Donmez added that the Fatih is continuing to drill the fourth well at Sakarya, the Amasra-1 well, confirming for the first time that the new well is on the northeast side of the Sakarya prospect.
He also repeated previous statements by Turkish officials that first gas from the field would be delivered to customers in Turkey by the end of 2023.
Donmez attributed TPAO's success in discovering the Sakarya field to the company having established its own surveying and drilling fleet, in order to prospect in waters in the East Mediterranean, ownership of which remains disputed.
Donmez noted that some countries that had criticized TPAO's East Mediterranean drilling have subsequently invited the company to prospect in their waters, but did not name them.
"We have turned down the offers for now, but this situation will open the doors abroad for us in the future," he said.
According to earlier energy ministry announcements TPAO will drill between 30 and 40 wells in the Sakarya field over the next seven to eight years, with up to 10 wells expected to have been completed by 2023 when Turkey plans to bring the first gas from the field onshore.
As yet few details have been confirmed regarding plans for development of the field.
An environmental impact assessment published earlier this year suggests TPAO plans to produce gas using unmanned subsea facilities, although it is not yet clear whether the field would be suitable for this mode of production.
Donmez previously ruled out TPAO, which has no experience of offshore deepwater field development, from taking an international partner to help develop the field, suggesting that the company could instead bring in specialist companies on a contract basis and hire skilled staff as required.
Unconfirmed reports in the Turkish media have suggested that TPAO has been in contact with one or more major international gas producers.
Turkey currently has only minimal domestic gas production, with most of its demand met by imports.