OPINION: Turkey’s latest gas discovery in the Black Sea could be the trigger for Bulgaria to finally get serious about encouraging exploration activities in their waters to boost energy security.

State-owned Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) has found about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas with its Caycuma-1 probe, resources that will eventually be tied back to the company’s ongoing multi-billion-dollar Sakarya project some 40 kilometres to the southwest.

This fresh find combined with a Sakarya resource upgrade means TPAO has now found 25 Tcf of exploitable gas that can feed its energy-hungry market.

Since making its first discovery in this deep-water frontier play a few years ago, the operator has released few details about its extent.

However, given Caycuma-1 lies just five kilometres from TotalEnergies’ Khan Asparuh block offshore Bulgaria, geoscientists working for the French supermajor must be scouting for data on this probe to establish if the Turkish play extends into its acreage, where an oil and gas find was made in 2016.

Bulgaria uses around 106 billion cubic feet per annum of gas, with a third imported from Azerbaijan and the rest coming via Greece, although this week it agreed to buy up to 53 Bcf per annum from Turkey.

Perhaps this gas supply deal between Sofia and Ankara could preface an exchange of geological information between the two governments and establish a framework for cross-border gas projects?

Perhaps the agreement could trigger TPAO farming in to TotalEnergies’ block, accelerating exploration activities in the east of Khan Asparuh?

This could be a one-time opportunity for Bulgaria which it should grasp with both hands.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)

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