By Nigar Abbasova
Energy rich Azerbaijan is expected to extract first volumes of gas from the Absheron gas condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea in 2019, said Khoshbakht Yusifzade, the first vice-president of SOCAR, while addressing the first Eurasian conference of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE).
He said that preliminary estimates of reserves at the field stand at 350 billion cubic meters of gas (bcm) and some 45 million tons of gas condensate.
“Currently, the contractor is preparing a plan on the development of the field, according to the PSA contract (Exploration, Development and Production Sharing Agreement). Certain steps are planned to be taken within the framework of the annual plan on gas production, including completion of exploration works on the implementation of the concept in September, approval of the development plan by partners in October, and approval of the program by SOCAR in early 2017. Final investment decisions on the preliminary production plan will be taken in the fourth quarter of 2017. The first output well will be drilled in the third quarter of 2017 at the earliest,” Yusifzade said.
He underlined that discovery of such large gas-condensate fields as Absheron and Umid has significantly increased possibility of exposure of new oil and gas fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
Deputy Energy Minister, Natig Abbasov earlier said that the natural gas produced in the Absheron field may be exported to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor , adding that the capacity of the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic (TAP) pipelines will allow exporting natural gas from the Absheron field.
PSA for Absheron Perspective Structure was signed on February 27, 2009. Absheron project participants include SOCAR 40 percent, the French companies Total - 40 percent and Gaz De France Suez - 20 percent. The Absheron contract area is located in the Caspian Sea, 100 km off Baku, while its depth amounts to 500 meters.
Yusifzade further said that Malaysian Petronas will explore Goshadash structure in the in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
He mentioned that general works, including seismic investigations are currently being implemented at the structure and the works may be expanded in the future.
“We will start talks with Petronas should the results of the work be advantageous,” he added.
Goshadash structure is located in northwestern part of the Absheron archipelago, 15 km from the coast and 35-40 km from Baku. The water depth here is approximately 10-50 meters. Petronas holds 15.5 percent share on the developemtn project of the Shah Deniz field and South Caucasus gas pipeline.
The major part of oil and gas produced in Azerbaijan, accounts for ACG block of oil and gas fields and Shah Deniz gas and condensate field developed by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) jointly with foreign partners.
Shah Deniz field, located on the deep water shelf of the Caspian Sea, 70 km south-east of Baku is one of the world’s largest gas-condensate fields.
Some 24.7 million tons of oil and gas condensate was extracted in the country in January-July 2016. The index is 0.7 percent higher than the rate fixed in the same period of 2015. The country extracted 41.69 million tons of oil and gas condensate in 2015, as against the volume of 41.9, extracted a year earlier.
Yusifzade also said that SOCAR is planning to drill 26 new wells at the Bulla-deniz offshore field in 2016-2025, underlining that some five new platforms would be also installed at the field during this period.
Bulla Deniz is estimated to contain 17 bcm of natural gas. SOCAR has been working on the field since 1975. The field currently has 15 operational wells. From 1975 to 2009, SOCAR extracted about 62 million metric tons of gas and 11 million tons of condensate from the field.
Yusifzade also mentioned that SOCAR is expecting to get positive results from the talks on the transit of Turkmen gas through the territory of Azerbaijan, adding that involvement in Azerbaijan's pipeline infrastructure is advantageous for Turkmenistan.
“We possess pipelines till the midst of the Caspian Sea, which are located at a short distance from Turkmenistan,” he said.
Yusifzade further said that the issue on the development of the Kapaz border field (Turkmen side calls the field Sardar) is still on agenda. “I believe that we will decide the issue in the short run,” he said.
The decision on the joint development of Kapaz field before the signing of the convention of the legal status of the Caspian Sea may accelerate implementation of the Trans Caspian gas pipeline, which is considered to be one of the most popular energy projects that can allow Ashgabat to diversify its energy routes.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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