Socar eyes Total for Complex Azeri Fields
Azerbaijan is considering inviting the French producer Total to develop its geologically complicated Umid and Babek gas fields, the energy ministry said October 26.
Umid has gas reserves of some 200bn m³ at depths of 5,860 metres, which Socar discovered in November 2010. Output began September 2012 at 1.4bn m³/yr gas and 220,000 metric tons (mt)/yr condensate but the output halved immediately.
State producer Socar then began talks with Total, Norwegian Statoil and other foreign companies in 2013 to sign production-sharing agreements, but falling oil prices in the second half of 2014 deterred them. After that, Socar started drilling to restore production, and output has almost returned to the 2012 level. However Socar is now discussing a new service contract with Total to ensure smoother operations in future.
The Babek structure is 25-30 km to the east of Umid but possibly twice the size. Primary geological studies have shown that it is a continuation of the Umid field but the productive layers are in more complex geological conditions.
Total also signed a PSA on Absheron offshore field recently, but the production volume is only expected to be 1.57bn m³/yr, about a third of the projected volume initially. Total should have started drilling in September. A Socar official told NGW that according the specific geological nature of the field, some equipment is needed for the newly manufactured drill rig – the $1bn Heydar Aliyev,, named after the first president of the independent republic.
However despite the delay, production is still planned for 2019, the official said, adding that the drilling operations would start no later than January. For now, only one well will be drilled. Its gas reserves are 350bn m³ and condensate reserves of 45mn metric tons.
The development of the Absheron deposit and the participation of Total in Umid-Babek block were discussed during a meeting between newly appointed energy minister Parviz Shahbazov and the vice-president of Europe and Caspian region at Total, Bernard Clement October 26, the ministry’s official website reported.
Clement said that the second phase of developing Absheron would start in 2020 and the production volume would reach 5bn m³/yr in 2023.
Total and Socar have 50% each of Absheron, after the third partner, French Engie, sold its 20% stake.
Shahbazov and Clement also discussed the possible participation of Total in the development of the offshore block, which includes the Umid field and the promising structure Umid-Babek, the ministry said.
The Babek structure locates 25-30 km to the east of Umid. Primary geological studies have shown that it is a continuation of the Umid field: only productive layers are located in more complex geological conditions. The reserves of Babek can double the reserves of Umid.
Ilham Shaban, Dalga Khatinoglu