Azerbaijan's largest underground gas holder to be upgraded

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 26 / Trend , E. Ismayilov/

Azerbaijan's Institute of Scientific Research and Design will complete feasibility study in August in an effort to ensure full gas extraction of gas from Kalmaz underground gas holder, senior specialist at the institute Azer Seyidov said.

"We are now preparing a feasibility study for Kalmaz gas holder to provide a full extraction of injected gas to it. The work was started about a month ago and will complete in by August," he said.

He said options for carrying out works under this project will be considered as soon as feasibility study by the Joint-Stock Company Azerigas (transport, distribution and sale of gas across Azerbaijan) is completed. The institute will start work on of estimates depending on option.

Feasibility study will be conducted by a special laboratory and design department specialized at underground storage facilities at the order of the Production Management of Underground Gas Storage of Azerigas.

Preparation of a feasibility study on this issue is only the first step. "First and foremost, it is necessary to resolve the issue of full extraction of gas injected and then we can draft the modernization work", Seyidov said.

Currently, the gas holder has capacity of 1.2 billion cubic meters, but technically it is possible to pump up to 600-650 million cubic meters of gas. To achieve planned capacity, certain geophysical work on the wells should be performed and aboveground structures must be replaced. All this should be implemented together as these technological processes are interrelated, he said.

Seyidov said the two underground gas holders in Azerbaijan (Garadagh and Kalmaz) were part of a gas distribution system and were used to maintain stability in the system during the Soviet period. After Azerbaijan gained independence Garadagh and Kalmaz are used to store surplus gas (in summer) received particular from Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) fields. If the production on the offshore gas condensate field Shah Deniz in Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea is controlled, the associated gas produced from ACG must also be supplied to land.

Azerbaijan pumps surplus gas to gas holders in summer when gas consumption declines. The gas is extracted and supplied to consumers in winter when demand for gas grows. "There is imbalance between consumption and production of gas in Azerbaijan and to ensure balance,   excess gas pumped is into underground storage," he said.

Also there is the idea of creating a gas holder in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR), where it is possible to store gas in salt deposits. But final decision has not been made yet. Gas holder in the NAR is necessary for the accumulation of gas reserves, Seyidov said.

Currently, the SOCAR is working to increase active volume of Garadagh gas. The gas holder will be overhauled in two phases. The first phase involves an increase in its active volume up to 1.4 billion cubic meters compared to the current 500 million cubic meters.

First vice-president of SOCAR on geology, geophysics and mining Khoshbakt Yusifzade said earlier that the work as a part of the first phase of expansion of gas holder is expected to be completed by the beginning of gas injection season (March-April) in 2010.

The active capacity is expected to be increased to 2.3 billion cubic meters as a part of the second phase.

According to a feasibility study prepared by Neftgazstroy Institute of SOCAR, the total cost of increasing the active capacity of Garadagh underground has holder is 75 million manat.

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