Construction of new drilling rig by SOCAR to expand operation opportunities in Caspian Sea

Oil&Gas Materials 15 January 2011 10:43 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.15, Trend. E. Ismailov /

Construction of a new floating drilling rig by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) will reduce the deficit in such facilities in the Caspian Sea, a source in oil and gas market said.

"At present, the number of floating drilling rigs in the Caspian Sea is limited. Therefore, a small number of these units limits the littoral countries' operation opportunities in the sea," the expert said.  

Construction of the drilling rig by SOCAR is an expensive project and it will take at least three years. Despite this, the creation of a new Drilling club and backup by the installation services companies in advance will facilitate the construction funding, the source said.

SOCAR's new drilling rig, along with the study of its own offshore fields and prospective structures in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, will also be used by foreign companies in the development of oil and gas projects in the country. Other Caspian countries will be able to use services of the platform.

Technical figures of the new platform will allow drilling at the maximum depth in the Caspian Sea.

Also, the source noted that along with an increase in the number of such rigs, the new drilling rig has a great importance in terms of renewal of the offshore platforms fleet. Most of the available platforms were built in Soviet times and many of them have become obsolete both technically and morally, despite the reconstruction carried out at different times. The most modern drilling rig in Azerbaijan is the rig named after Heydar Aliyev, and such rigs as "Istiglal", "Gorgud", have been operated for a long time, which requires fleet renewal, respectively.  

SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said earlier that the company is already negotiating with foreign companies for the construction of a new installation. The presence of such installation will enable drilling in the deep part of the Caspian Sea, particularly in fields such as the Zafar-Mashal, Babak and Nakhchivan

This year, SOCAR plans to increase drilling and bring them up to 200,000 meters compared to 140,000 meters in 2010. New drilling equipment is needed, which the company expects to acquire later this year, to increase the amount of drilling.

In 2009, SOCAR drilled 168,200 meters compared to about 203,000 meters in 2008. In 2007 the figure was 190,376 meters.