By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan's State Oil Company (SOCAR) drilled the first exploration well on the Shafag-Asiman offshore block (SAX01) in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea, SOCAR said in a message posted on its website.
It was noted that SOCAR and BP each hold 50 percent equity interest. BP is operator during the exploration phase of the project. Drilling is conducted by SOCAR’s Caspian Drilling Company.
The SAX01 well is the first to be drilled in the contract area and is in accordance with the PSA that was ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament in 2011.
The well is planned to reach a total depth of up to 7000 meters, which is expected to take around nine months, and following this, well data will be analyzed and, if successful, an evaluation programme may be conducted to confirm the results.
Talking about the first exploration well at SAX01, President of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev said that together with BP, SOCAR has successfully completed the seismic study in the Shafag-Asiman block, and now they are embarking on the next step, and starting to drill an exploration well. He noted that the exploration drilling will allow to fully uncover the block’s potential.
“We are proud that today Azerbaijani companies -SOCAR’s business units provide all key services, including the construction of platforms and jackets as well as drilling, for such complex projects, as Shah Deniz, Azeri-Chirag- Gunashli and Shafag-Asiman. We consider this as one of the most important achievements of Azerbaijani oil workers during the era of national independence,” he said.
BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey Gary Jones said that BP is excited and proud to be embarking on this first exploration well on the Shafag-Asiman offshore block structure which has great potential and which, if successful, could be a gas discovery of significant scale.
“A great deal of preparation has been made to assure a safe and robust drilling programme, delivered by an expert and motivated team using a drilling rig with managed pressure drilling capability,” he stressed.
The well is being drilled from the Heydar Aliyev semi-submersible rig operated by the SOCAR’s Caspian Drilling Company (CDC). The rig was contracted for the SAX01 well in November 2019 and then moved to the well location in preparation for the commencement of drilling operations.
The Shafag-Asiman block lies some 125 kilometers to the South-East of Baku. It covers an area of some 1,100 square kilometers. The sea depth in the area of the Shafag-Asiman contract area is 600-800 meters, the depth of the oil deposits is 6-7 kilometers. According to the primary geological studies on this structure, there are reservoirs with hydrocarbon potential.
The seismic surveys were conducted here twice, including two-dimensional seismic exploration (2D) between 1995 and 1999 and 3D seismic in 2012 to study the geological structure of the contract area and determine the characteristics of potential reservoirs.
The forecast reserves of the Shafag-Asiman block stand at 500 billion cubic meters of gas and 65 million tons of condensate.
SOCAR and BP signed a contract on the Shafag-Asiman block of fields for a period of 30 years in October 2010. The exploration period is four years with possibility of extension for three more years. Two wells are to be drilled within the first phase. Two more wells will be drilled within the second phase, if necessary. Shared participation in the contract between BP and SOCAR is 50/50 percent.
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