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Black Sea news roundup

The Black Sea region is a varied one, and several elements of it are in the process of changing. Bulgaria is attempting to move from importing oil and gas to producing it, while Romania is potentially going the other way. Meanwhile, Ukraine appears to have secured itself a non-Russian gas supply, making its future more stable.

Read on for more news from this intriguing area of the globe:


SOCAR to explore in Turkey as Goldman Sachs buys 13% stake

The Turkish branch of SOCAR, Azerbaijan's state oil and gas company, has been granted a petroleum exploration license that will allow it to search for oil in several regions of Turkey for the next five years. The company will be carrying out this work in Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Diyarbekir, Adiyaman, Batman, Mus, Mardin and Sirnak.

This news comes just after the announcement that US firm Goldman Sachs has purchased a 13 per cent stake in SOCAR Turkey. The cost of this deal is reported to have been $1.4 billion, which SOCAR has indicated will help it pay off over $1 billion of debts.

Kenan Yavuz, president of SOCAR Turkey, said: "The building partnership by one of the world’s leading investors to SOCAR Turkey, the largest investor of Turkey, has showed high confidence in our projects, company and country."


Bulgaria to explore for Black Sea oil and gas in 2016

Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov has announced that his country will be exploring the Black Sea for offshore oil and gas deposits, starting in early 2016. Specifically, Bulgaria will be looking to find resources in the region's Han Asparuh block.

The nation currently spends around $7 billion per year importing oil and gas, so is aiming to use its own deposits to lessen the amount it has to purchase from other countries. Romania was in a similar situation several years ago and was able to reduce the amount of oil and gas it gets from imports to just ten per cent.


Lake Tuz gas storage facility given completion date

The Lake Tuz gas storage facility in Anatolia has been under construction since 2012, but a date has finally been given for its completion. According to Tukey's Energy Ministry, the first storage unit - out of a planned total of six - will be in use by 2017. The facility will be fully operational by 2019.

The completed project will feature a total of 12 wells and have a capacity of one billion cubic m of natural gas. At the moment, construction is 65 per cent complete with all expropriation works, three pumping stations and five water deposits having already been created.

Turkey Infographic Link


EU gas imports to Ukraine rising

Ukraine has been trying for some time to secure a source of natural gas from the EU to reduce dependence on Russia. The most recent figures suggest that these efforts have been successful, as gas pipelines are currently running at 96 per cent capacity and imports into the country have reached a four-month high.

Currently, Ukraine is receiving 37.7 million cubic m of gas per day from the EU, specifically through Slovakia. From August 1st to August 19th, the country imported a total of 474.6 million cubic m of gas. In 2015 it has mainly imported Slovakian gas, with some coming from Hungary and Poland as well.


Romanian oil imports rising

The newest figures from Romania's National Institute of Statistics have revealed that the nation is stepping up its oil imports, possibly due to a decrease in the amount it is able to produce itself. In the first half of 2015, around 3.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) were imported; 7.4 per cent more than in the period of January to June 2014, when just under three million TOE were imported.

In 2014, a total of 6.727 million TOE were imported. If oil imports continue to rise by this amount, Romania may end up purchasing as much as 7.2 million TOE by the end of 2015. This rise coincides with a decrease in the country's domestic crude oil production, which has fallen by 0.7 per cent from 1.90 million TOE to 1.89 million TOE.
Romania is still the fifth-largest oil producer in Europe. However, it has used up approximately 40 per cent of its proven oil reserves over the last 20 years, and has around 600 million barrels left.

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