Large investments in Azerbaijan's oil sector to affect transfers by oil consortium to public budget

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 6 /Trend, I.Khalilova/

The Azerbaijani government expects reduction of incomes to the Public budget through the Azerbaijan International Operating Consortium (AIOC) in 2011 despite that oil prices, which are formed based on budget projections at the level of 2010 - $60 per barrel of oil, a government source said on September 6.

"Such expectations are linked to the implementation of the six billion Chirag oil project by 2013 that will increase the cost of oil companies participating in the project, respectively, their profits will decline," the same source said.

Chirag oil project involves $6 billion investments. Planned daily Azeri Light oil production from the new platform, which will be built to increase oil production at ACG, will amount to 183,000 barrels. The expected daily production of associated gas from the new platform will exceed 6.5 million cubic meters. Estimated daily volume of injected gas into the reservoir on the platform will be about 2.3 million cubic meters.

Advance drilling under the project will cover the second half of 2010 - the first half of 2012. Drilling will be carried out with the Dede Gorgud rig. Starting production from the platform is scheduled for the end of 2013. In total, 300 million barrels of oil are expected to be produced under the project (until the end of the contract on ACG in 2024).

Participants in the project for Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli development are: BP (operator - 37.43 percent equity), Chevron (11.27 percent), SOCAR (10 percent), INPEX (10.96 percent), Statoil (8.56 percent), Exxon (8 percent), TPAO (6.75 percent), Itochu (4.3 percent), Hess (2.72 percent).

Within correcting forecasts for 2010 Public budget, the plan on transfers on income tax for the AIOC - the operator to develop a large-scale block of Azerbaijani fields Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli, where Azeri Light oil is produced, was increased to 650 million manat from previously envisaged 330 million manat.

In accordance with the schedule of transfers agreed by the ministries of finance and taxes for 2010, the transfers from the AIOC in 3rd and 4th quarters are expected at the level of 235 million manat quarterly. In the first half year, the oil contractor companies transferred 380 million manat to the Public budget, exceeding the previous projection for entire 2010 by 15 percent. The transfers were calculated from the price of oil at $45 per barrel, while the average price was about $75. The average oil prices for 2010 are expected at the same level.

AIOC tax transfers to the Public budget next year will be lower than this year. However, this situation will not affect the incomes of the State Oil Fund because transfers to the Public budget from SOFAR will be almost at the level of this year - 5.915 billion manat.

Official rate on Sept. 6 is 0.8034 AZN/USD

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