By Akbar Mammadov
President Ilham Aliyev has voiced Azerbaijan’s commitment to complete the Southern Gas Corridor that will take Azerbaijan gas to European markets.
“The completion of the Southern Gas Corridor is our main focus now. This project is being successfully implemented. TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline], which is its fourth and final project, is nearing completion,” Aliyev said.
The president made the remark at a ceremony to send offshore the support block of the Karabakh field of the Baku Heydar Aliyev Deep Water Jackets Plant on August 10.
“Today, offshore work on Karabakh field got started. This is a very important stage in the development of the field. This huge facility was built in Azerbaijan. Today it is being sent to the sea by Azerbaijani specialists,” Aliyev said.
He emphasized that today, Azerbaijan is returning to the once-abandoned Karabakh field and this huge support block is a clear evidence of that.
“Just as today we return to the once-abandoned ‘Karabakh’ field, in the same way, we will return to our native Karabakh. Karabakh is ours, Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”, Aliyev stressed.
Karabakh support block has been built by SOCAR's BOS Shelf Company at the Baku Heydar Aliyev Deep Water Jackets Plant. The facility is designed for oil and gas exploration and production. It has an estimated 60 million tons of oil reserves.
Aliyev described the Southern Gas Corridor as “our historic achievement,” and said that the construction of three interconnected gas pipelines with a length of 3,500 km will be completed soon to deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
“The Southern Gas Corridor will be fully operational. This is very important and I think it is a historic event. Because it allows ensuring the full development of the ‘Shah Deniz’ field,” Aliyev said.
The president emphasized that the “Shah Deniz” field will supply gas to Azerbaijan and partner countries at least a hundred years from now. “At the same time, we are determined to expand our export geography,” he added.
Aliyev pointed out that gas extracted from “Shah Deniz” field will be delivered to Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy.
“If a gas network is established in Albania, Albania will be our natural partner, and we can export gas there as well. It is possible to supply Azerbaijani gas to other neighbouring countries in the Balkans,” Aliyev noted.
Aliyev also said that Azerbaijan is compiling a new energy map of Eurasia.
Commenting on the support block of the Karabakh oil field, Aliyev said that this is a very remarkable event.
The president expressed his confidence that the upper part of the foundation will be built on time, and it will be possible to begin the full-scale development of the Karabakh field.
“As a result of the implementation of Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy in the 1990s, a contract on the distribution of shares was signed. Three wells were drilled in this field in the 1990s. However, foreign partners did not believe in the effectiveness of the Karabakh field, the contract was terminated and the Karabakh field was abandoned. However, our experts were fully confident that this field has great potential,” noted the president.
Aliyev highlighted the fact that the fourth well, which was drilled in 2020, has become effective and thus the field has been fully discovered.
“I must also note that this is the first oil field discovered in Azerbaijan during the period of independence. "Azeri", "Chirag", "Gunashli" fields were discovered during the Soviet period. Shah Deniz and Absheron fields are gas condensate fields.”
He stressed that the support block of the Karabakh oil field in the largest one in the Caspian Sea.
Noting that this facility has a very complex and huge construction structure, Aliyev touched upon its technological features.
“The device weighs more than 16,000 tons and is about 190 meters high. Considering that the area where the Karabakh field is located belongs to the very deep part of the Caspian Sea, of course, there was a great need for the construction of such a huge facility. I must also say that the water depth in the Karabakh field is 180 meters, and I think that is why oil and gas were not extracted from this field in Soviet times.”
The president also expressed satisfaction with the fact that Azerbaijani specialists constructed this facility and noted that the vast majority of the work done was done by Azerbaijani specialists and workers.
Presently about 5,000 people work at Baku Deep Water Jacket Factory, he noted.
In terms of the output, Aliyev said that if things go as planned, the first oil and the first gas should be extracted from the Karabakh oil field by late 2020.
The president pointed out that the oil reserves of the Karabakh field are estimated at 60 million tons. “I am convinved that this figure will increase during the development period,” added Aliyev. Speaking about the estimation of “Azeri”, “Chirag”, “Gunashli” oil fields, he underlined that this field will produce at least 1.5 million tons of oil and 1.5-1.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Touching upon other oil and gas projects, the president emphasized that maintaining stable production at the “Azeri”, “Chirag” and “Gunashli” fields is important for the country.
“The Azerbaijani public must know that a significant part of our gas potential is formed at the expense of “Azeri”, “Chirag” and “Gunashli” fields.
Saying that the “Shah Deniz-2” project is also successfully being implemented, Aliyev stressed that it is one of the greatest gas-condensate fields in the world. “Full-scale development of “Shah Deniz-2” will give us an additional 16 billion cubic meters of gas,” he said, noting that this gas field will contribute to providing the domestic demand, as well as the volume of gas for export.
Furthermore, Aliyev highlighted that the first gas is expected to be extracted from the Absheron gas condensate field in 2021.
“There will be two stages in the development of the Absheron field. As a result of the first stage, 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas will be produced and consumed in Azerbaijan. Our growing industrial potential dictates that we need additional resources. Therefore, 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas will be consumed in the country. We are also approaching the start of the second phase of the Absheron field. Production will probably be 3-4 times more. This will have a positive impact on our gas potential.”
Touching upon the “Shafag-Asiman” field, the president said that this field also has great potential where drilling is now underway. “Drilling will show the exact amount of reserves,” he noted.
Karabakh oil field with over 60 million tons of crude was discovered by SOCAR and Norwegian “Equinor” company in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, 120 kilometres east of Baku. It should be noted that the drilling of the first appraisal well on the “Karabakh” field began on December 23, 2019. SOCAR's CDC drilling company drilled this well with “Dada Gorgud” floating drilling rig at a depth of 180 meters. Productive layers of the deposit are located at a depth of 3.4 km.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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