Expert: Azerbaijan has right to claim leading role in European gas market

Kazakhstan, Astana, Sept. 12 / Trend A.Maratov /

Azerbaijan has a right to claim a leading role in Europe's gas market even without the opening of the Absheron gas field, the Russian expert and Deputy Editor of the "Oil and Gas in Russia" magazine Igor Ivakhnenko told Trend.

"Azerbaijan's gas reserves are now large enough that the country has the right to claim a major role in the European gas market," Ivakhnenko said. He commented on the opening of the new Absheron large field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.

He believes that "the discovery of the Absheron field" is mostly a matter of the newly drilled well's flow rates.

"The former operator of the project - U.S. Chevron - also received indications of hydrocarbons, but refused to develop a deep-seated field as the productivity of development did not meet its profitability expectations. If Total received higher production rates than Chevron, and found a more progressive approach to the development of Absheron, it will greatly help the company," he said.

Nevertheless, Ivakhnenko believes the Shah Deniz-2 project is of key importance to the "gas breakthrough" of Baku in the Old World, while the export opportunities of all other Azerbaijani projects have the support value."

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev briefed about the discovery of large gas reserves on the Absheron field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea on Friday.

According to Total, one of the participants of the contract on exploration and development of the Absheron field, gas reserves at the field are estimated at several trillion cubic feet of gas and condensate according to initial assessments.

Participants in Absheron are SOCAR (40 percent), Total (40 percent), and Gaz De France Suez (20 percent).
The contract on the Absheron Field was signed on Feb. 27, 2009, between SOCAR and Total. Total later sold 20 percent of its equity participation to Gaz De France Suez.

The first exploration well is being drilled from the Heydar Aliyev drilling rig, operated by the Danish Maersk Drilling Company.

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