Türkiye, Saudi Arabia ink deal to boost mining sector cooperation

Türkiye and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pave the way for further cooperation for critical minerals, the Turkish energy and natural resources minister announced on Monday.

The deal came after Saudi Arabia’s Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Bandar Alkhorayef’s visit to Türkiye on Monday, Alparslan Bayraktar said during an interview on the TRT Haber television channel.

The deal includes mineral investments and the cooperation required for cutting-edge technology, solar panels and electric cars.

Saudi Arabia has a specific interest in hydrogen, wind and solar power as part of its goal to reach 5000 megawatts of installed power, Bayraktar confirmed.

With regards to Türkiye, Bayraktar explained that one of its top priorities is the reduction of energy dependency given the country’s increased energy demand in line with its growing population and industrial activity.

To this end, the natural gas discovery in Türkiye’s northern Black Sea region and the recent oil find in the southeastern Gabar region are vital to achieving this goal of energy independence.

With 50 million tons of oil and petroleum product imports totaling $40 billion in 2022, 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas imports totaling $38.4 billion, and 38 million tons of coal imports totaling $10 billion, he argued that the country needs to reduce its reliance on all of these imports.

Türkiye’s efforts to decrease energy dependency bore fruit in 2020, when the country’s first natural gas discovery was made in the Black Sea in the Tuna-1 well, yielding 405 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, followed by the world’s largest offshore find also that year. It made another discovery in June 2021 in the Amasra-1 well, holding reserves of 135 bcm.

The Amasra-1 well brought total Black Sea gas reserves to 540 bcm, which was later revised up to 652 bcm.

In December 2022, a further 58 bcm of gas was found in the Caycuma-1 well in the southwestern part of the Black Sea, bringing the country’s total oil reserves to date to 710 bcm.