OPINION: The discovery of fresh gas resources in Turkey’s sector of the Black Sea will be welcomed by the beleaguered government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The new Amasra discovery holds 5 trillion cubic feet of gas and boosts this deep-water play’s reserves to 19 Tcf.

Ankara is fast-tracking the $3.6 billion development of last year’s 14 Tcf Sakarya find and aims to bring it online in 2023 at a rate of 1 billion cubic feet per day, rising to 4 Bcfd in a second phase.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.

Before Amasra’s discovery, Sakarya was already a substantial project involving 30 to 40 subsea wells feeding gas to a shore-based processing plant via a pair of 155-kilometre pipelines.

These big finds will eventually make a big dent in Turkey’s imports of piped gas from Russia and Azerbaijan and liquefied natural gas from Nigeria and Qatar, while giving Ankara leverage in gas price and volume negotiations.

This will reduce the outflow of much-needed funds from state coffers at a time when Turkey’s economy is suffering the ravages of Covid-19, inflation and a weak currency.

Strongman Erdogan’s belligerent foreign policy in the East Mediterranean has also created political difficulties in the region and beyond.

The president is up for re-election in 2023 and is clearly trying to make political capital out of the gas finds and present a positive message to voters fed up with the country's economic malaise.

But with polls showing waning support for Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, it will take more than gas to turn the electoral tide.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)