Equinor is a partner in two exploration licences in the Thrace region in the European north-western part of Turkey.
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In 2016 Equinor (then Statoil) farmed into an onshore acreage operated by Valeura Energy Inc., a Canadian exploration company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Equinor holds a 50% interest in formations deeper than 2500 metres within the Banarli and West Thrace licences. Valeura holds 50% in the deep formations in the Banarli licence, and 31.5% in the deep formations in the West Thrace. The remaining 18.5% in West Thrace is held by Pinnacle Turkey.
The intention was to test the potential of an unconventional basin-centred gas play. The first deep exploration well, Yamalik-1 in the Banarli licence, was drilled in 2017 and proved a gas and condensate discovery. To learn more about the extent of the play, recovery rates and commerciality, Equinor and Valeura will continue exploring and testing in the area in 2018 and 2019.
Turkey is one of the largest gas markets in Europe, with a yearly consumption around 50 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM), of which approximately 99% is imported.
The Banarli and West Thrace licences cover a total of around 1200 square kilometres. They are close to existing infrastructure in an area where gas has been produced since the 1920s.
Entry into the north-western part of Turkey is in accordance with Equinor's exploration strategy to build a diverse portfolio of low commitment frontier opportunities with impact potential.
Equinor currently has no office in Turkey, after closing its Istanbul office in June 2015 following the divestment of the company’s 25.5 percent share in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field.