[Premium] Socar Turns into an Operator
Azerbaijan’s state-run oil company Socar has started to take a new approach in developing gas fields, turning from a shareholder into an operator.
Last year, about 72.1% of Azerbaijan’s total 18.157bn m3 of sales gas production came from fields operated by the UK major BP, but for the first time in the country’s history, Socar started March 1 the development of the offshore Absheron gas field on 50/50 partnership agreement with French Total as co-operator, based on a production sharing agreement (PSA).
The company also announced March 2 that it plans to start drilling an appraisal well in the offshore Karabakh field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian in the third quarter of this year, based on a service contract with Norwegian Statoil.
The field contains about 40bn m3 reserves, above 42% more than believed after a 1999 survey. It is expected to become operational in 2021.
Socar also signed a service contract with UK Nobel in January 2017 to develop the offshore 200bn m³ Umid field; and Babek, whose reserves are still uncertain. Azerbaijan is considering inviting Total to develop these.
Socar is also working on other PSAs: it has signed one with BP to develop Shafag-Asiman and they are preparing to develop the project next year. Socar is also talking with BP to explore the shallow waters off the Absheron Peninsula, again with a PSA.