Azerbaijan plans rational use of energy resources

By Aynur Jafarova

Azerbaijan has started working on the development of a national program for the rational use of energy resources of the country in 2014-2020, Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said on February 5.

"There is a need to develop a national program for the rational use of natural resources of Azerbaijan in 2014-2020 to maintain consistency and purposefulness of work conducted to ensure the rational use of energy resources," he said.

Aliyev went on to note that development of such a program is relevant on the background of increase of demand to energy carriers and global prices.

Preliminary work for the development of the program has already begun, and the ministry has sent an appeal to the relevant organizations to establish a working group, the minister said.

Proven gas reserves of Azerbaijan, an energy-rich South Caucasus country, are estimated at 2.55 trillion cubic meters, and oil reserves at two billion tons while the predicted gas reserves of the country are estimated at six trillion cubic meters and oil reserves at four billion tons.

Aliyev also made public the oil and gas production figures for 2013. He said in 2013 Azerbaijan produced 32.72 million tons of oil at giant Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) block of fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea in 2013 compared to the expected 30.62 million tons.

The ACG block of fields has been producing oil since 1997. Production started from the Chirag part of the field and continues successfully to this day. This was followed by the Azeri Project; Central Azeri production started in February 2005, West Azeri began production in December 2005, and East Azeri came on stream in October 2006. The Deepwater Gunashli section launched production in April 2008.

The largest volume of oil produced in Azerbaijan falls to the ACG block. The proven oil reserves stands at nearly one billion tons. The indicated results were achieved thanks to measures taken by the partners in 2013 to stabilize the production volume at the block.

Aliyev pointed out that in total, 43.2 million tons of oil was produced in the country in 2013 compared to the forecasted 41.1 million tons. Additionally, around 29.2 billion cubic meters of gas was produced in Azerbaijan in 2013 compared to the expected 27.5 billion cubic meters.

The Energy Minister also said the capacity of the electric power generating system in Azerbaijan exceeded 7,000 megawatts in 2013.

The country's energy capacity grew by 30 percent over the past five years thanks to the construction and commissioning of a number of large-scale powers.

"In 2013, the capacity of the country's electric power generating system increased by 830 megawatts, surpassing the mark of seven thousand megawatts," Aliyev noted.

Azerbaijan's main electricity producer is Azerenerji, which has over 200 substations with the capacity of 500, 330, 220 and 110 kV amp, and eight hydroelectric plants and 13 thermal power plants.

Aliyev went on to say that the number of regions in Azerbaijan receiving gas reached 67.
"The restoration of gas supply in various regions resulted in a saving of funds by the population that were spent on other fuels," the minister said.

Around 9,000 kilometers of gas pipelines were constructed in the country in 2013 under work programs to increase the level and improvement of gasification. The gasification level in Azerbaijan hit 90 percent excluding the regions occupied by Armenia.

"Currently, the gasification level in Baku is 96.3 percent, whilst in the regions it is 65.4 percent. The level of providing subscribers with meters was brought up to 99 percent," Aliyev said.

To date, over 500,000 meters working on the basis of smart cards (prepaid cards) have been installed for Azerbaijan's gas subscribers.

The total number of gas subscribers has already exceeded 1.6 million, some 1.58 million of which are domestic subscribers.