By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
BP, the world-famous British oil and gas company, has been successfully working in Azerbaijan for many years. In 2017, Azerbaijan and BP extended their agreement to develop the ACG fields to 2050, a deal dubbed by the Azerbaijani government as "the contract of the century" when first signed in 1994. The arrangement was initially due to run until 2024.
Azerbaijan will become the 5th largest source of production in the global portfolio of BP in 2023, said senior analyst of Wood Mackenzie Robert Morris commenting on the decision of sanctioning the Azeri Central East (ACE) project, which is the next stage in the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli giant block (ACG) in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
“Production at the giant oil field of Azerbaijan would probably have reached its peak in 2010, but taking into account that the block still has three billion barrels to be produced, the project is halfway through its development," Morris said.
He expects that ACE, which provides for the production of 100,000 barrels of oil per day, will reach its peak production in the mid-2020s.
The expert added that there is a close connection between BP and Azerbaijan.
“BP manages approximately 80 percent of the country's production, and Azerbaijan will become the fifth largest source of production in BP's global portfolio when oil production will begin in 2023 within the Azeri Central East project,” Morris emphasized.
The Steering Committee for the development of the Azeri and Chirag fields and the Deep Water portion of the Gunashli (ACG) field (including SOCAR, BP, Chevron, INPEX, Equinor, ExxonMobil, TPAO, ITOCHU and ONGC Videsh) has earlier announced the sanctioning of the ACE project.
Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli is the largest oil and gas field in the Caspian Sea, covering more than 432 square kilometers.
ACE project is centered on a new 48-slot production, drilling and quarters platform located mid-way between the existing Central Azeri and East Azeri platforms in a water depth of approximately 140 meters. The project will also include new infield pipelines to transfer oil and gas from the ACE platform to the existing ACG Phase 2 oil and gas export pipelines for transportation to the onshore Sangachal Terminal.
In addition, there will be a water injection pipeline installed between the East Azeri and ACE platforms to supply injection water from the Central Azeri compression and water injection platform to the ACE facilities.
Construction activities, which will commence this year and run through mid-2022, will take place in-country utilizing local resources. It is expected that at peak, construction activities will create up to 8,000 jobs.
The $6 billion development includes a new offshore platform and facilities designed to process up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day. The project is expected to achieve first production in 2023 and produce up to 300 million barrels over its lifetime.
ACG participating interests are as follows: BP (30.37 percent), SOCAR (25.0 percent), Chevron (9.57 percent), INPEX (9.31 percent), Equinor (7.27 percent), ExxonMobil (6.79 percent), TPAO (5.73 percent), ITOCHU (3.65 percent), ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) (2.31 percent).