Baku Re-starts Drilling in Umid Gas Field amid Tender
Azerbaijan has re-started development of the Umid gas field with the drilling of an appraisal well on March 19th.
Khoshbakht Yusifzaheh, Vice-President of Azerbaijan’s state oil and gas company (SOCAR), told Natural Gas Europe that SOCAR has announced a tender for development of Umid gas field and “we will consider the cost of drilling operations, namely the expenses of this appraisal well and other operations will be taken into in the contract”
Reserves at Umid are estimated to be about 200 billion cubic meters (bcm), but geological surveys say the field is connected to Babek gas field, with twice than Umid’s gas deposits.
Yusifzadeh said that in case the drilling operation become successful, a new production platform will be installed there.
The Umid field sits in the Caspian Sea’s shallow waters, 75 km in south of Baku. The first exploration well was drilled in 2009 and a gas layer was found at the depth of 6000 meters in 2010.
The second exploration well was drilled in 2011-2012 at the depth of 6356 meters and found the second gas layer.
SOCAR started gas production from Umid in September 2012, at 1.5 million cubic meters per day, but this volume decreased by more than 50 percent to 620 to 630 thousand cubic meters per day in 2014 due to what called the “complicated geological structure of field”.
SOCAR issued a tender for development of Umid gas field in 3Q 2014, but this tender is not restricted by only Umid. SOCAR’s “Umid-Babek” tender also will end by March 21th and the selection of winner among foreign companies would take 6 months. Babek, is located 20 km from Umid in a little deeper waters.
During this period, SOCAR wants to gather further information about the structure of these fields.
Gas produced from Umid is aimed to be supplied to the domestic markets, while the reserves of Babek is aimed to be delivered to the western markets.
A source told Natural Gas Europe that some 12 international companies, including BP have joined the announced tender.
Ilham Shaban is Director of the Azerbaijan Centre for Oil Studies, in Baku