Azerbaijan beats record in commercial gas production

By Gulgiz Dadashova

Energy-rich Azerbaijan, aiming to bring the Caspian gas to Europe, has increased commercial gas production level in 2015.

Vice-President of Azerbaijan’s energy giant SOCAR Rahman Gurbanov made the remark while talking to Natural Gas Europe.

Gurbanov said that for first time, the country’s commercial gas production hit 18.9 billion cubic meters in 2015, some 0.2 bcm more than in 2014. He added that commercial gas production was raised from both Shah Deniz and Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields’ associated gas. All of these fields are operated by BP.

Almost all of Azerbaijan's natural gas is produced in two offshore fields—the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli complex and Shah Deniz. The Shah Deniz natural gas and condensate field started producing in late 2006, making Azerbaijan a net gas exporter.

The country produced 9.9 bcm of commercial gas from Shah Deniz Stage 1 in 2015. However, the total gas production in Azerbaijan (including flared and re-injected gas to oil wells) reached 29.4 bcm in 2015, some 0.2 bcm less than 2014.

SOCAR produced 7.223 bcm of commercial gas in 2014 and 2.776 bcm of associated gas, produced from the ACG was delivered to SOCAR as well.

The country’s total gas consumption during 2014 was 11.654 bcm, while about 943 mcm of gas was lost, mostly in cross-country gas network due to aging pipelines and equipments.

Earlier, Tamam Bayatli, spokesman for BP Azerbaijan reported that the production level from Shah Deniz Stage 1 (SD1) is expected to increase in 2015 despite suspending operations for three weeks in August.

She said that currently some 29 mcm/d of gas is produced from SD1.

During 11 months of 2015 Azerbaijan exported 6 bcm of SD1's gas, about 1.6 percent more that the same period in 2014. Total gas export from this field in 2014 was 6.5 bcm.

"The current figures indicate that SD1's output level to surpass 2014," she said. SD1 output last year reached 9.8 bcm.

Azerbaijan's proven natural gas reserves were roughly 35 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of January 2014, according to OGJ. The vast majority of these reserves are associated with the Shah Deniz field. Discoveries of the Absheron and Umid formations between 2010-11 added a further 15 Tcf of resources estimated in place.

Most of Azerbaijan's natural gas is destined for Turkey, but the country supplies a small volume to Greece via the Turkey-Greece interconnector. Under a previous arrangement, Turkey was re-exporting Azerbaijani natural gas to Greece, but a new agreement allows Azerbaijan to directly export volumes to Europe. The Shah Deniz Stage 2 will result in increased exports to Europe once the needed infrastructure is completed.

The Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) will transport the Shah Deniz natural gas through Turkey. This pipeline will run from the Georgia-Turkey border to the Turkey-Greece border. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will link to TANAP and transport Azerbaijan's natural gas exports through Greece and Albania to Italy.

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