Drilling works at Absheron field in Azerbaijan near completion

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 29

By Sara Israfilbayova - Trend:

Drilling at the Absheron field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, where the first production well ABD-001 is being built, is nearing completion, Trend reports referring to own sources.

The semi-submersible floating drilling rig “Heydar Aliyev”, which was commissioned in 2017, began drilling at the Absheron field last year.

The drilling of the well had two main objectives. First, make assessment of the reserves and confirm their availability in the volumes announced during the discovery of the gas-condensate field in 2012. Second, drilling a well, from which it is planned to start gas and condensate extraction in the future as part of the first stage of the Absheron field’s development.

The first part of the plan was successfully completed in May this year, when Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR announced that it exceeded the record depth of 7,400 meters, and the well fully confirmed reserves of “Absheron” in the volume of 350 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Condensate reserves at the field are estimated at 45 million tons.

The well was drilled with a deviation of 1,200 meters in the direction of the south-western flank of the field, and unveiled the gas-water contact, which couldn’t be done while drilling an exploration well in 2011.

SOCAR Vice President for Development Yashar Latifov stated that the well didn’t just confirm the reserves; it gave grounds to believe that the reserves might be even higher than those declared. All the necessary studies were held in this well and they showed a higher gas saturation factor of the productive stratum.

“Now we can claim that the existing estimate is minimal,” he noted.

He said that the concept of the second stage of the Absheron field’s development may be prepared before the end of the year. An option is being considered that envisages annual gas production of 4-5 billion cubic meters of gas.

However, so far, all the work has been concentrated on starting production from the first phase of development. Denis Lemarchal, Total’s managing director for Azerbaijan, said that there are plans to start first production of gas from the field in 2021, which is somewhat later than the initial calculations to do so in 2020.

Upon completion of the drilling, Total must wait for the readiness of the offshore infrastructure - a small platform near the Oil Rocks field for receiving produced gas and condensate, as well as for the pipeline for delivering products to the platform. “The platform should be ready in 2021, after which gas production will start at the Absheron field,” he said.

The annual production of 1.5 billion cubic meters, which will be produced at Absheron, is intended for the local market and will be acquired by SOCAR.

The participants of the Absheron project include SOCAR and the French Total, with 50 percent each. The company Engie, which previously owned a 20 percent equity stake, withdrew from the project in June 2017.

The Absheron contract was signed Feb. 27, 2009 between SOCAR and Total.

The operator of the Absheron project is a joint company JOCAP, in which SOCAR and Total have equal shares.

(1 USD = 1.7 AZN on July 29)

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Follow the author on Twitter: @IsrafilbekovaS

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