By Leman Mammadova
Presently, Norwegian company Equinor conducts exploration and appraisal operations at this prospective structure together with state oil company SOCAR.
Last year, the two companies signed a production sharing and exploration agreement to explore and develop the ADUA block, and a risk-service agreement to develop the Karabakh field. The agreements envisage a 50/50 share distribution.
Equinor plans to start drilling the first exploratory well in the Aypara structure in the first quarter of 2020 and complete it either in the first or in the second quarter of next year.
“Equinor hopes to drill the first exploratory well in the Aypara prospective structure in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea without any problems,” Arne Reidar Holvik, drilling manager at Equinor, said during public hearing of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on drilling of the exploration well Aypara-1.
In his words, the company does not expect any special difficulties during the drilling as abnormally high temperatures and high pressure are not observed in these places.
“During drilling, we plan to study the productive stratum as much as possible,” Holvik added.
He stressed that a semi-submersible floating drilling rig designed for drilling an exploratory well is currently being upgraded, after which, at the end of the current - early next year, it will be delivered to the drilling point.
The designed depth of the well is 3,900 meters. The drilling work will last from 60 to 70 days, and the depth of the sea at the drilling site is 140 meters.
Azerbaijan, a country rich in hydrocarbons, possesses promising hydrocarbon fields such as Ashrafi, Dan Ulduzu and Aypara (ADUA), Shafag-Asiman, Umid-Babek, Karabakh, that can be used to further ensure the energy efficiency in the country and to increase gas export volumes to Europe.
The ADUA exploration area is located around 50 kilometers east of Baku, 14 kilometers east of Azerbaijan mainland (Absheron peninsula), and approximately 7 kilometers east of Pirallahi Island in water depths varying between 20 and 225 meters.
Azerbaijan strongly cooperates with Equinor, especially in the development of hydrocarbon fields. Equinor owns 7.27 percent of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) block development project in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea and 8.71 percent in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), the main export route for ACG oil.
The cooperation also covers development of renewable energy sector. Recently, a memorandum of understanding was signed for the cooperation on renewable energy. Equinor is planning to invest more in alternative energy projects in the future, and it is expected that by 2030, up to 15 percent of investments will be directed to renewable energy projects in Azerbaijan.