Status of offshore oil, gas contracts in Azerbaijan for Dec. 2017
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 4
By Maksim Tsurkov – Trend:
The status of offshore oil and gas contracts in Azerbaijan for December 2017:
The production sharing agreement (PSA) for developing the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) block of oil and gas fields was signed in September 1994, for a period of 30 years.
The Azerbaijani government and the country’s state oil company SOCAR, together with BP, Chevron, INPEX, Statoil, ExxonMobil, TP, ITOCHU and ONGC Videsh signed the amended and restated agreement on the joint development and production sharing for the Azeri, Chirag fields and the Deep Water Portion of the Gunashli Field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea until 2050.
The oil reserves on the block account for more than one billion tons. The recoverable reserves amount to more than 500 million tons of oil. More than 3.2 billion barrels of oil have been produced from the ACG, and the total costs for the project amounted to about $43.5 billion.
The production at Chirag field started in 1997, Central Azeri - early 2005, West Azeri - early 2006 and East Azeri - late 2006. Production on the deepwater part of Guneshli field began in spring of 2008, West Chirag - January of 2014.
Under the new agreement, construction of new Central-Eastern Azeri platform is planned. The investment decision on the new platform is planned to be made within the new ACG agreement in mid-2019.
The new ACG participating interests are as follows: BP - 30.37 percent; AzACG (SOCAR) - 25 percent; Chevron - 9.57 percent; INPEX - 9.31 percent; Statoil - 7.27 percent; ExxonMobil - 6.79 percent; TP - 5.73 percent; ITOCHU - 3.65 percent; ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) - 2.31 percent.
BP is the operator of the ACG development project.
As much as 438 million tons of oil and 138 billion cubic meters of gas were produced at the block as of Nov.1, 2017. Some 246 million tons of the total volume of oil produced at the block accounted for Azerbaijan's profit oil.
The volume of oil production at ACG block totaled 22 million tons (around 160 million barrels) in Jan.-Sept. 2017. The production was carried out at 114 wells at the block during the reporting period.
BP transferred 2.4 billion cubic meters of associated gas to Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR in nine months of 2017. The associated gas is transferred to SOCAR as part of development of ACG free of charge.
This is while 31.1 million tons of oil was produced at ACG in 2016, compared to 31.3 million tons in 2015. Presently, daily oil production at the ACG is about 585,000 barrels.
The contract for the developing the Shah Deniz field was signed on June 4, 1996.
The contract was extended from 2036 to 2048 and the shares of SOCAR and BP (project operator) in the project were increased to 16.7 percent and 28.8 percent respectively, in accordance with the documents signed in Baku on Dec.17, 2013.
The shareholders in the contract are: BP, operator (28.8 percent), AzSD (10 percent), SGC Upstream (6.7 percent), Petronas (15.5 percent), Lukoil (10 percent), NIOC (10 percent) and TPAO (19 percent).
The proven reserves of Shah Deniz are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas and 240 million tons of condensate.
The volume of production at Shah Deniz field stood at 86 billion cubic meters of gas and 25.5 million tons of condensate as of Nov.1, 2017.
The major part of the gas produced at the field was exported. During the reporting period, 48.5 billion cubic meters of gas was supplied to Turkey, while 6.5 billion cubic meters was delivered to Georgia. Gas is also delivered to the pumping stations of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline.
This is while about 7.4 billion cubic meters of gas and 1.7 million tons of condensate (around 14 million barrels) were produced at Shah Deniz in three quarters of 2017.
As much as 10.7 billion cubic meters of gas and 2.5 million tons of condensate were produced at the field in 2016.
In January-August 2017, Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR purchased 1.75 billion cubic meters of gas extracted from the Shah Deniz field. The cost of selling additional volumes has not been disclosed due to commercial confidentiality.
Currently, work is underway on implementing the Stage 2 of the field's development, and it is completed by more than 97 percent. The total cost of implementation of the second stage of the Shah Deniz field's development is estimated at $23.9 billion.
Additional 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year will be extracted within the second stage of the field's development. Around six billion of the mentioned amount will be delivered to Turkey and 10 billion to Europe. It is predicted that gas production will exceed 25 billion cubic meters per year within the second stage of the field's development.
On Sept. 6, a new flagship vessel for the Caspian Sea - Khankendi - was launched. The state-of-the-art subsea construction vessel was specifically designed and built to install the biggest subsea production system in the Caspian Sea as part of the Shah Deniz Stage 2 project. The $378 million vessel is now deployed to the Shah Deniz field where it is expected to perform subsea installation and construction work until the end of 2028.
On Sept. 15, the second topsides unit built for the Shah Deniz Stage 2 project - the topsides of the Production and Risers (PR) platform sailed away for offshore installation. This followed the safe and successful sail away and offshore installation of the Quarters and Utilities (QU) platform topsides in early June.
The transportation, float-over and installation activities were carefully planned and took six days to complete. The unit is installed on top of the PR jacket which was already at its offshore location in a water depth of 94 meters waiting for the deck.
The expansion of the Sangachal terminal – already one of the world's largest oil and gas terminals – is progressing well with the plans to be able to process the additional gas volumes from Shah Deniz Stage 2.
The partners developing the field are also considering implementing a third stage of development, based on the results of an exploration well drilled at the field in 2007 (the deepest well drilled in the Caspian Sea so far). The discovery of a new productive layer shows promise of a grand future for the field after the second stage of its development. But given the high pressure, new technologies and exploration operations will be needed to develop these reserves.
In August 2017, BP stopped gas production on the Shah Deniz platform due to technical maintenance and repair work at the Sangachal terminal.
Absheron project participants include SOCAR - 50 percent and France’s Total - 50 percent.
A contract on the Absheron field was signed Feb. 27, 2009 between SOCAR and Total.
The discovery of the field was announced in September 2011. A decision was made to drill an offshoot of the first exploration well to specify the data. The work was completed in 2012.
The results of the first exploration well indicate the existence of commercially attractive gas and condensate reserves. According to geologists of the Total, the reserves of Absheron amount to 326 billion cubic meters of gas and 108 million tons of condensate.
In November 2017, SOCAR and TOTAL signed a framework agreement on the main contractual and commercial principles regulating the program of the first phase of Absheron field’s development.
The first phase of the field’s development envisages drilling of one well at a sea depth of 450 meters. The production will stand at up to 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year and these volumes, coupled with considerable amount of condensate will be used in Azerbaijan’s domestic market. It is planned to produce first gas at the field in 2019. In the second phase, it is planned to produce up to 4 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
JOCAP, with 50 percent share held by SOCAR and TOTAL each, will be the operator of the Absheron project. However, due to administrative issues, the process of creating the company is delayed.
It is planned to start the drilling of the first well at the Absheron field in late January 2018 with the help of the Heydar Aliyev next-generation semi-submersible floating drilling rig, which was commissioned in May 2017.
Bahar and Gum Deniz
On Dec. 22, 2009, SOCAR signed a PSA contract with Bahar Energy Limited for the exploration, rehabilitation and development of the Bahar and Gum Deniz offshore fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Under the contract, equity of SOCAR is 20 percent and Bahar Energy Limited - 80 percent.
A 25-year contract has been concluded with the possibility of extension for another five years. Initially, SOCAR's share of profitable hydrocarbons will amount to 40 percent. In the future the share will increase to 90 percent. The investment in this project will hit $1 billion, according to preliminary estimates.
Bahar Energy Limited was registered in the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone in the UAE. SOCAR signed a memorandum of understanding with the company on April 16, 2009.
Due to the bankruptcy of the Baghlan Group company, which owned 66.67 percent stake in Bahar Energy Limited, the US Greenfields Petroleum company became a 100-percent owner of Bahar Energy Limited.
The contract consists of two parts. The first one envisages the rehabilitation and stabilization of production at the block of fields and the second – the exploration of the Bahar-2 prospective structure.
The average daily oil production in the Azerbaijani block of oil and gas fields, Bahar-Gum Deniz, in the Caspian Sea stood at 773.3 barrels, gas output totaled about 563,500 cubic meters in January-September 2017.
The operator completed two capital overhauls and seven maintenance overhauls at the Gum Deniz oil field in the 3Q17.
In the third quarter of 2017, operating expenses of Bahar Energy were 18 percent lower than it was planned in the budget, according to the source. Capital expenses were also significantly lower than those indicated in the budget due to a reduction in the volume of capital projects or their deferral.
In November 2017, Bahar Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Greenfields, executed an exclusive memorandum of understanding with SOCAR Complex Drilling Works Trust, a subsidiary of SOCAR, to formalize a partnership for the drilling of deep gas wells in the Bahar gas field offshore Azerbaijan.
Oil production within the Phase 1 (implementation period is not specified) of the plan for the rehabilitation of the Gum Deniz field is estimated at 207 million barrels of oil and 16.6 billion cubic meters of gas.
Gum Deniz field has been operated since 1955 and is located 21 kilometers southeast of Baku. Bahar field has been operated since 1969 and is located 40 kilometers southeast of Baku.
In 2008, SOCAR and Nobel Oil Exploration & Production Ltd created SOCAR-Umid LLC for drilling on the prospective structure "Umid" in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. SOCAR owns 80 percent share and the Nobel Oil company has 20 percent share in the joint venture. In early 2017, a risk service contract was signed regarding exploration and development of the Umid-Babak block.
SOCAR announced the discovery of the Umid field in 2010. The volume of the field's reserve exceeds 200 billion cubic meters of gas and 40 million tons of condensate, according to the results of drilling the first exploration well and the estimations of SOCAR specialists.
The Umid field is located 75 kilometers from Baku, 40 kilometers away from the coast. The first geophysical work was carried out there in 1953 and was repeated in 1972 in the improved form. Nine wells were drilled there from 1977 to 1992. However, none of them produced any results.
The reserves of Babak perspective structure may amount to 400 billion cubic meters of gas and 80 million tons of condensate, according to preliminary data.
The risk service contract (a contract with a minimum guarantee of compensation) for exploration and development of an offshore block including the Umid gas field and the promising Babak structure in the Caspian Sea was signed between SOCAR and SOCAR Umid Oil and Gas Ltd on January 12, 2017.
SOCAR-Umid LLC, which was engaged in the development of the Umid gas field, was affiliated to the SOCAR’s Azneft Production Union.
The drilling and gas extraction from the Umid field continues. The fourth well is being drilled. Production from two wells (#10 and #14) is underway at the field. More than one million cubic meters of gas and 200 tons of condensate are daily produced at the field. In total, SOCAR has produced almost 1.52 billion cubic meters of gas and 237,000 tons of condensate since the beginning of the development of the Umid field in 2011.
SOCAR has a long-term program on the development of the Umid-Babak block, thanks to which the company will be able to receive up to five billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Umid field alone. The Babak field has yet to be drilled. SOCAR is preparing for exploration work on the structure, which is scheduled to begin in 2018. SOCAR plans to use big ‘Dede Gorgud’ floating semi-submersible drilling rig in drilling operations at the block in 2018.
SOCAR is preparing a project to drill the first exploratory well on the promising Babak structure. If the results of the exploratory well’s drilling are positive, SOCAR will build a platform there at the first stage and drill 4-5 wells for production. Gas production itself at the Babak field may start in 2024-2025.
As part of the Umid field development, four new platforms are being installed for the drilling of 19 production wells.
In December 2017, information appeared regarding interest of France’s Total in the development of the Umid-Babak block.
Regardless of the structure of the contract on development of the Umid-Babak block, the main task of SOCAR is to ensure the optimal development of the already explored deposit and to ensure exploratory drilling on promising structures.
A 30-year contract on Shafag-Asiman was signed in October 2010. The exploration period will be four years, with possibility of extension for three more years. Two wells are to be drilled within the first phase. Two more wells will be drilled within the second phase, if necessary.
In the operational period the sides will implement joint operatorship within the project. Shared participation in the contract between BP and SOCAR is 50 to 50 percent.
The forecasted reserves of the Shafag-Asiman block stand at 500 billion cubic meters of gas and 65 million tons of condensate.
The block is located 125 kilometers to the south-east of Baku. Exploration work has not been conducted on the block yet. It is located at a depth of 650-800 meters with the depth of the reservoir at 7,000 meters.
BP-Azerbaijan in 2015 finished the processing of three-dimensional geophysical studies conducted at the "Shafag-Asiman" and continues the work to plan the drilling of the first exploration well.
According to SOCAR, drilling of the first exploratory well on the Shafag-Asiman block is planned to begin in 2019. Production at the block may start in 2030.
Deep-seated gas in Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli
Under the "Contract of the Century" signed by Azerbaijan in 1994, BP and its partners in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) project have the right to develop oil layers to Fasile (Break) suite. Based on the Production Sharing Agreement, development of the lower horizons is the subject of a separate agreement.
The new agreement on extension of the ACG development until 2050, signed on Sept. 14, 2017, includes issues related to the first phase of deep-seated gas production at the block. However, the main part of the development of deep-seated gas will not be covered by the new contract.
According to the forecasts, the gas reserves in the lower horizons at the ACG are estimated at about 280 billion cubic meters.
According to SOCAR representatives, it is planned to start production of deep-seated gas at the ACG block of fields in 2019. The entire process of producing deep-seated gas at the ACG is divided into two phases.
The first phase will be implemented within the framework of the new agreement on ACG. The first phase is divided into two stages. A total of four wells will be drilled within the first phase. Following the first phase, SOCAR with partners will again return to discussing this issue in a different format. If it is possible to find a unified solution, the work will be continued, otherwise SOCAR will independently make a decision regarding the further work on this project.
The drilling of four wells within the first phase is related to meeting domestic demand for gas in Azerbaijan in the coming years.
Production of gas from the first two wells (the first stage) is planned in 2019. After all four wells are drilled, further possibilities will be evaluated. SOCAR has already sent an appeal regarding the drilling of the first two wells, and the preparatory work has begun. All wells will be drilled from the Deepwater Gunashli platform. This gas will be further transferred to SOCAR.
Araz-Alov-Sharg participating interests are: SOCAR – 40 percent, BP (operator) – 15 percent, Norwegian Statoil – 15 percent, US ExxonMobil – 15 percent, Turkish TPAO – 10 percent, Canadian Alberta Energy – 5 percent. Required investments are about $4 billion.
The project remains frozen until the Caspian Sea status is agreed upon.
SOCAR and Norway's Statoil signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the two prospective sites “Zafar” and “Mashal” in the spring of 2013. The memorandum envisages negotiations, coordination of basic commercial principles and conditions of a contract for the development and conclusion of the contract itself.
The first contract for development of the promising offshore Zafar-Mashal field was signed between the US ExxonMobil and SOCAR on Apr. 27, 1999. SOCAR owned 50 percent and ExxonMobil 30 percent. In 2000, the remaining 20 percent was transferred to the US ConocoPhillips.
The investments in the project were estimated at about $2 billion with projected volume of oil reserves at 140 million tons, 100 million of which accounted for Zafar and 40 million for Mashal.
According to SOCAR geologists' estimations, the reserves on this structure are estimated at 300 billion cubic meters of gas and 37 million tons of condensate.
The Karabakh field was discovered in 2000. Its initial oil reserves amount to 100 million tons. SOCAR operates Karabakh field’s development. In December 2017, SOCAR and Statoil signed a contract, which includes main commercial principles and provisions of the risk service contract regarding the Karabakh field.
It is expected that Statoil and SOCAR will soon sign the main risk service contract for the Karabakh field.
Earlier, Azneft Production Union stated that the Karabakh field will be developed in a new format with the use of international assessments.
In December, it became known that SOCAR completed work on the feasibility study of the development of the Karabakh field and prepared a specific plan for its development. Presently, the project is at the pre-FEED (preliminary front end engineering design) stage. In early 2018, SOCAR will proceed to the FEED stage, and will make the final investment decision.
The company expects to start production at the field in 2021.
The first contract on the development of the perspective offshore structure “Nakhchivan” was signed on Aug.1, 1997. The parties to the contract were ExxonMobil - 50 percent, SOCAR - 50 percent.
In March 2010, SOCAR and German RWE signed a memorandum of understanding on the offshore perspective structure “Nakhchivan”. Under the terms of the memorandum, companies should have undertaken all necessary work to prepare a PSA by March 10, 2011. However, the contract remains unsigned.
The field's reserves are projected at 300 billion cubic meters of gas and 40 million tons of gas condensate.
Shallow waters around the Absheron Peninsula
SOCAR and BP signed a PSA-contract on joint exploration at the potentially promising structures located in the shallow waters of the Absheron Peninsula on December 22, 2014. This agreement is part of the government's plan to fully explore all the coastal areas of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
The parties to the contract were BP - 50 percent, SOCAR - 50 percent.
The area of water, covered by the PSA agreement between SOCAR and BP to carry out the development and exploration work in the shallow waters of the Absheron Peninsula, extends along the southern part of the Absheron Peninsula. The area reaches 1,900 square kilometers. The sea depth is up to 40 meters in this territory, but the depth of the potentially productive strata is 3,000-5,000 meters.
BP in 2016 conducted primary seismic survey on potentially promising structures located in the shallow waters around the Absheron peninsula in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
The primary results of data processing reveal large potential in the contract area.
The stage of interpretation of seismic data is completed, and the work is underway to assess the resources. After this, the stage of determining economic profitability will begin.
In early 2018, the current phase of the project will be completed, and then it will be possible to talk about specific reserves.
In May 2016, BP and SOCAR signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly explore potential prospects in the block D230 in the North Absheron Basin in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.
The MOU gives BP the exclusive right to negotiate an agreement with SOCAR to explore and develop the D230 Block.
The block covers areas in a water depth of up to 300 meters with the reservoir depth of 3,000-5,000 meters.
BP hoped to sign an agreement with SOCAR for geological exploration on the structures of the block D230 by the end of 2017, however, the contract has not been signed yet.
As soon as the contract is signed, the parties will immediately begin to prepare a work program. It is planned that the shares of BP and SOCAR in the project will be divided equally. Discussions are currently underway regarding the technical operator of the project, but BP will be the operator of the primary work program.
In September 2016, Malaysia’s PETRONAS oil and gas company and SOCAR entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons at a block in the potentially promising structure Goshadash in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
The Goshadash structure is located in the north-western part of the Absheron archipelago, in 15 kilometers from the coast, at a distance of 35-40 kilometers from Baku. The depth of water here is 10-50 meters.
PETRONAS is evaluating the technical and commercial viability of the project for exploration, development and production of hydrocarbons at a block in the potentially promising structure Goshadash.
At the same time, SOCAR is processing and interpreting the data obtained during a seismic survey on the Goshadash prospective structure.