By Ayya Lmahamad
France’s TOTAL company has expressed its commitment to joint projects carried out with Azerbaijan over the exploration of the country’s Absheron oil and gas field.
The company’s President for Exploration and Production Arnaud Breuillac made the remarks during the meeting with President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) Rovnag Abdullayev.
Breuillac said that TOTAL is a fully private company and has not ties with the French government. Abdullayev reminded that France showed a biased position during the Second Karabakh War, thereby undermining its impartiality as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair mediating the conflict.
Furthermore, Breuillac emphasized that in 2020, all work within the joint project were carried out without losses and in safe conditions. He spoke about the company’s sustainable investment plans in both oil and gas production and renewable energy sources.
It was stressed that the beginning of the first gas production within the jointly implemented Absheron project in 2022 is the main goal. Thus, for this purpose, three upper modules were built and installed by BOS Shelf SOCAR in 2021 on the platform sent to sea last year.
Likewise, Abdullayev stressed the need to reduce costs on domestic gas tariffs in order to ensure the effectiveness and profitability of the project.
Additionally, various issues related to the next stages of field development were discussed during the meeting. The parties also exchanged views on the prospect of cooperation in other projects.
It should be noted that French President Emanuel Macron made a series of pro-Armenian statements during the war on September 27 and November 10. French National Assembly also adopted a one-sided resolution in December and in November, the French Senate adopted a draft resolution on the recognition of the separatist entity in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan sent a protest note to France over this.
The Absheron field, which is an offshore natural gas field in the Caspian Sea, is developed by the Joint Operating Company Absheron Petroleum (JOCAP). The shares have been divided equally between SOCAR Absheron (50 percent) and TOTAL E&P Absheron (50 percent). The field has gas reserves of 350-360 billion cubic meters and 45 million tons of gas condensate reserves. The first contract on the Absheron gas field was signed with foreign partners in the late 1990s. After some time the first contract was terminated, and the new contract between Total and SOCAR was signed on February 27, 2009.
During the groundbreaking ceremony for the Absheron field offshore operations at the Heydar Aliyev Baku Deep Water Jackets Plant on September 19, 2020, President Ilham Aliyev said that gas produced from new offshore Absheron field at the first stage would be directed to meet the country’s domestic needs.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz