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    BP to Explore N Caspian Sea


The UK major is expecting to find oil though not gas.

by: Dalga Khatinoglu, Ilham Shaban

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BP to Explore N Caspian Sea

UK major BP is planning to conduct three-dimensional seismic exploration at the prospective D230 block in the Azerbaijani northern sector of the Caspian Sea in 2019-2020, it said February 8.

So far only the southern part of Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea territory has been studied and developed. The BP-operated offshore Shah Deniz and Azeri-Chieag-Guneshli fields account for over four fifths of Azerbaijan’s total oil and gas production.

As of now, Lukoil -- the only Russian company to produce oil and gas from the Caspian Sea -- has studied the area, and its one well was dry. But BP plans to conduct a large-scale exploration.

“Seismic surveys will take six months scheduled for the period 2019-2020. The goal of these works is to collect geophysical data on promising structures in the northern Absheron basin and to detect geological structures with the presence of hydrocarbons,” said BP.

According to the company, the depth of the water at the site of the seismic surveys varies from 100 to 800 metres. The vessel for seismic work has not yet been selected. State-run Socar and BP signed a PSA for joint exploration of the prospective D230 block on April 26, 2018 with equal stakes. At the time, BP told NGW it was expecting oil not gas.

Total and Equinor-led projects

Azerbaijan has another deal with French Total to develop the deep water offshore Absheron field with 350bn m3 reserves, which is not related to BP’s block.

Socar CEO Rovnag Abdullayev said February 8 that drilling the first production well ABD-001 at the Total-led offshore Absheron field at a depth of 7,400 metres will end in the third quarter of 2019 and produce 4.3mn m3/d gas. The shareholders are Socar and Total with equal stakes.

The Heydar Aliyev rig is drilling that well and after completion, it will start drilling in another BP-operated block Shafag-Asiman, which is expected to contain the biggest gas reserves after Shah Deniz is Caspian sea.

Abdullayev also said that Norwegian Equinor-led Karabakh field would also operate in 2020-2021. “At present, preparations are underway for drilling an exploratory well in the prospective Aypara structure in the Caspian Sea," he said. The drilling will be carried out using the Dede Gorgud semi-submersible floating drilling rig.

Socar and Equinor signed a production-sharing agreement May 31, 2018 for exploration and development of Dan Ulduzu-Ashrafi-Aypara block as well as a risk service contract for the development of the Karabakh field. For the implementation of the projects, Socar and Equinor created a 50-50 operating company for that.

The Karabakh field with 28bn m3 of gas, is 130 km east of Baku and the sea depth is 180 metres.