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Beginning of Petroleum Exploration in Turkey


In the world, first petroleum oil seepage, asphalt and gas occurrence was known 9000 years ago in Mezopotania namely at Bagdat and Mosul. In this area, since 5000 years ago petroleum oil was used for heating and lighting. Ottoman Empire in 1516 occupied Mosul and during Sultan Suleyman's rule (1520–1566) Bagdat petroleum oil field was also included into empire. As a result Ottoman Empire had the fortune of having two oldest known and the biggest oil fields for about 5 centuries. But for various reasons never developed them, only protected them from any demage and lost them all at the end of first world war (The beginning of 20th century) without making any use. After Turkish Republic was established in 1923, Turkish government realized that for economic development and industrialization petroleum is essential. So, the government decided to start petroleum exploration within new national boundary. But there was no engineer or geologist who knows about petroleum exploration. In 1935 mineral exploration and research institute of Turkey (M.T.A) was established to find mineral, industrial minerals and petroleum, as well as to prepare and publish geologic maps. At the same time MTA's another function was to train professionals needed to work at MTA and other mining organizations. MTA in 1935 started to send 50 students each year to foreign country universities for mining, geology, geophysics and petroleum education. Starting with 3 mining/geology engineer already trained abroad before and with new comers support, with great belief and determination and hard work a new economic oil field was discovered in Turkey in 1948. This gave hope for future discoveries in Turkey on land and off shore. To give more importance to petroleum exploration and to attract foreign petroleum companies, the government decided to separate petroleum exploration from MTA and prepared a new petroleum law nor 6327, which became in force in 1954. According to this law, Turkish Petroleum Anonym Company (Türkiye Petrolleri A. O.) was founded and started operation in 1955. Soon after the new law mobil oil, The Shell Company, British Petroleum, Amerikan Overseas A. C. (ERSAN) started exploration, and they all discovered new economic oil fields. Since then, at Turkish universities geology, geophysics, mining and petroleum departments set up. Different scale geologic maps were prepared and printed by MTA. Petroleum geology of Turkey is very well evaluated by TPAO. Now Turkey is ready for new disc