SOCAR may deliver new drilling rig for operations at large field of Caspian Sea

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

The first exploration well on the Babak prospective structure will be drilled from the latest generation floating drilling rig, the construction of which will begin in Azerbaijan in 2013, the source on the oil and gas market told Trend on Friday.

There is a need to build four new modern drilling rigs in Azerbaijan to implement the offshore oil and gas projects. The first new generation rig will be built for the needs of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). Singapore company Keppel FELS Limited has been chosen as a contractor. A contract will be soon signed. Around 388.575 million manat are envisaged in SOCAR's budget-2013 for the construction of a semi-submersible drilling rig required by SOCAR.

Caspian Drilling Company Ltd (CDC) will be the operator of a new drilling rig. SOCAR has around 92.44 percent of the equity.

According to the source, after the first well is drilled on the Babak structure, a new rig can be sent to drill the second well at the Absheron gas condensate field. The development is being conducted by SOCAR together with French Total and GDF.

A new drilling rig may be used to drill the second well in Absheron field during the work on the processing of data obtained from the first exploration well at Babak field.
Afterwards, the rig will be returned to the promising structure.

"The second drilling rig with Total's participation may be constructed by this period," the source said.

Total E & P Azerbaijan General Manager Christian Giudicelli said earlier that the first gas is expected to be obtained from Absheron field in 2020. By late 2014, Total E & P Azerbaijan SOCAR will present the field development program. After its implementation, the first gas is expected to be obtained by 2020.

According to the forecast, the annual production is expected to reach 3-5 billion cubic meters within the first phase of the field development.

Regarding the period of obtaining the first gas at Babak in case of discovering a field, the source said that it will take time (about 3-4 years). But in case of connecting the wells at Babak field to the second platform, which will be built at Umid field, the process can be accelerated.

While drilling the four exploration wells required to delineate the field and their underwater pumping, the wells can be connected to the new platform at Umid field by subsea infrastructure, the source said.

Umid field is located 75 kilometers from Baku, 40 kilometers from the coast. SOCAR announced about its opening in 2010. Babak perspective structure is located near Umid field. SOCAR has repeatedly stated that it intends to conduct the operations on this structure independently.

Gas reserves at Umid field are estimated at 200 billion cubic meters, while more than 400 billion cubic meters on Babak structure.

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