Bottom Line: An agreement between Shell and Turkey’s national oil company (TPAO) for western Black Sea exploration will start the ball rolling for Turkey’s energy ambitions. We’ve been waiting for that one ‘big find’. This is where it will be.
Analysis: Investing in exploration in Turkey’s Black Sea coast has been a bit tricky due to territorial/resource disputes with the Greek-Turkish divided island of Cyprus, so things have gotten off to a slow start. In September, Shell began evaluating Turkey’s western Black Sea to determine its potential. At least 15 oil and gas deposits have already been discovered in the Black Sea, but none of them in Turkish territory. Geological research shows potential but the process has been hindered by data that is kept at a national level by the countries on the Black Sea (Turkey, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria) and there are various interpretations. The deep-water area of the Western Black Sea basin has thick Tertiary sequences that look particularly promising.
Recommendation: Keep an eye on developments in Turkey over the course of 2013. It won’t happen fast, but this year could be the year of the big find, and both juniors and majors are already hard on this scene because even without the big find, Turkey has a lot to offer in terms of fiscal arrangements, massive infrastructure and good governance. There should be more onshore leases available as the majors abandon these to explore offshore in the Black Sea.