Weekly digest of Azerbaijan’s energy sector

Weekly digest of Azerbaijan’s energy sector

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept. 21

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Electricity generation in Azerbaijan down

Electricity generation in Azerbaijan made up over 2.1 billion kilowatt-hours in August 2020, Trend reports citing the report of the Ministry of Energy.

As reported, the volume of electricity export of Azerbaijan for the reporting month made up 97.86 million kilowatt-hours, while import to the country – 7.3 million kilowatt-hours.

The production of electricity in August this year dropped by 131.1 million kilowatt-hours compared to the same month of 2019, and made up 17.5 billion kilowatt-hours, while the export and import of electricity decreased by 111.1 million and 9.7 million kilowatt-hours, respectively, said the ministry.

TAP’s 50% capacity may become available in November 2020

In the base case, the S&P Global Platts assumes that 50 percent of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) capacity to become available in November 2020 and the rest from Gas Year 2021, Trend reports citing S&P Global Platts.

“However many uncertainties remain regarding the ramp-up period as shareholders have not provided details about the initial schedule. First volumes might be linked to contractual clauses in the long-term gas supply agreement, which are confidential. Other scenarios are possible for the rate of ramp-up of TAP,” S&P Global Platts said in its report.

In Scenario 1, TAP ramps up at full capacity from November 2020. “In an extreme case, we could see gas flowing at maximum capacity already from November 2020 onwards.”

In Scenario 2, TAP begins only with 25 percent capacity in November 2020 and ramps up to 50 percent in Gas Year 2021 with Algerian contracts being out of the money.

OPEC reveals forecasts for Azerbaijan’s oil output

For 2020, in line with the decisions of the OPEC+ for crude oil production adjustment, liquids production in Azerbaijan is forecast to decline by 0.07 mb/d to average 0.72 mb/d, while for 2021, a minor decline of 0.01 mb/d is anticipated, Trend reports citing OPEC.

“Liquids output in Azerbaijan in June shows a m-o-m decline of 0.02 mb/d to average 0.68 mb/d, and continues more or less at the same level in July while the preliminary output in August indicates m-o-m growth of 0.03 mb/d to average 0.70 mb/d. Crude oil production was adjusted down to average 573 tb/d, 564 tb/d, 552 tb/d and 585 tb/d in May to August, respectively, compared to 684 tb/d in April,” reads the report.

EIB stands ready to appraise new loan requests for IGB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) stands ready to appraise new loan requests for the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Bulgaria, EIB told Trend.

“The disbursement and allocations of the tranches of the EIB loan are connected with the progress of the physical implementation of the IGB Project. In this respect, currently we cannot provide any further dates. As regards any new loan requests, the Bank stands ready to appraise them as they come in and in line with the EIB existing policy,” said the Bank.

Azerbaijan discloses amount of exported oil products

Azerbaijan exported 20.7 million tons of oil from January through August 2020, which is 3.2 percent less than in 2019, Trend reports referring to the statistics report of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee.

Following the report, in total terms, the oil export volume from January through August 2020 amounted to $6.8 billion (a decrease of 34.7 percent compared to the same period of 2019).

The export volume of oil products amounted to almost 763,200 tons, which is 11.3 percent more than in the same period of last year.

In total, for the reporting period, the total volume of export from Azerbaijan in monetary terms amounted to $9.9 billion, which is 26.6 percent less than in the same period of 2019.

SOCAR's subsidiary reveals eight-month methanol export figures

SOCAR Methanol LLC, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), exported over 30.1 million tons of methanol from January through August 2020, Trend reports citing the State Statistical Committee.

During the reporting period, the company exported 301,220 tons of methyl alcohol, said the committee.

At the same time, the share of methanol in Azerbaijan's export in the non-oil sector amounted to 2.61 percent, and in the total export volume - 0.3 percent.

Azerbaijan raises natural gas export

Azerbaijan exported over 8.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas from January through August 2020, which is 21.3 percent more compared to the same period of 2019, Trend reports citing the statistical report of the State Customs Committee (SCC).

The value of natural gas export for the reporting period totaled over $1.7 billion, and thereby increasing by 19.7 percent year on year, the SCC noted.

At the same time, Azerbaijan’s natural gas export accounted for 17.24 percent of the country’s overall export for the specifying period.

SOCAR plans to bring number of filling stations in Romania to 60 by late 2020

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has put into operation its 50th filling station in Romania, SOCAR Petroleum SA Romania told Trend.

The filling station is located in Sibiu region of Romania, being the third one there.

SOCAR Petroleum SA Romania CEO Hamza Karimov said that SOCAR continues to expand its filling stations’ network in Romania and successfully implements investment projects in this country.

“We plan to bring the total number of SOCAR’s filling stations in Romania to 60 by the end of 2020. The whole world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected Romania’s economy as well. Nevertheless, SOCAR has completed the first six months of 2020 with profit in Romania and has fully implemented the strategic development plan for 2020,” added Karimov.

Currently, SOCAR has filling stations in 24 regions of Romania.

Georgia reduces electricity imports from Azerbaijan

Georgia received 371.3 million kWh of electricity from Azerbaijan from January through August this year, Trend reports via the Georgian Electricity System Commercial Operator (ESCO).

This figure is 389.23 million kWh or 2 times less compared to the previous year.

In the first eight months of last year, Georgia received 760.53 million kWh of electricity from Azerbaijan.

Imports from Azerbaijan accounted for 59.7 percent of Georgia's total electricity imports, from Russia - 40.3 percent.

From January through August 2020, Georgia exported 15.3 million kWh of electricity to Azerbaijan, 69.5 million kWh to Turkey.

In the reporting period, Azerbaijan sent 101.8 million kWh of electricity to Turkey via Georgia.

This figure is 25.2 percent less compared to the same period last year. During the first 8 months of last year, Azerbaijan sent 136.2 million kWh of electricity to Turkey via Georgia.

EXPRO to restart of Shah Deniz operations soon

UK EXPRO international oilfield service company is going to restart operations at Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas and condensate field soon, the company told Trend.

“EXPRO is currently completing the maintenance of the equipment for the restart of Shah Deniz operations in Q4 2020,” said the company.

Azerbaijan ranks first in export of petroleum bitumen to Georgia

In August 2020, the total volume of imports of petroleum bitumen to Georgia amounted to 15,600 tons, which is 500 tons or 3.1 percent less than in July (16,100 tons). tons, Trend reports via the Union of Petroleum Product Importers of Georgia.

This indicator is also 11,900 tons or 43.3 percent less than in August last year (27,500 tons).

During the reporting period, 64.1 percent (10,000 tons) of petroleum bitumen were imported to Georgia from Azerbaijan. This is followed by Iraq - 32.1 percent (500 tons) and Turkmenistan - 3.8 percent (600 tons).

In total, 72,900 tons of bitumen were imported to Georgia in January through August 2020, which is 37,600 tons or 34 percent less than in the same period of 2019 (110,500 tons).

Of this volume, 60.4 percent (44,000 tons) was imported to Georgia from Azerbaijan.

This is followed by: Iraq - 22.2 percent (16,200 tons), Iran - 10.4 percent (7,600 tons), Russia - 4.4 percent (3,200 tons), Turkey - 1.1 percent (800 tons), United Arab Emirates - 0.3 percent (200 tons).

BP: Planned maintenance activity ongoing at Ceyhan Marine Terminal jetty

There is an ongoing planned maintenance activity at Ceyhan Marine Terminal (CMT) jetty and the activity is planned to be completed within 2-3 weeks, BP Azerbaijan told Trend.

“These are planned regular maintenance activities. This maintenance scope does not include any upgrade at the terminal jetty which has the VLCC loading capability and has had this since the beginning of the operations in 2006,” said the company.

BP Azerbaijan said shipping schedule is planned accordingly in order to accommodate maintenance works without having any impact on loading activities.

There’s no impact on production or exports activities in Azerbaijan either, according to the company.

Gasoline production rises in Azerbaijan

The value of petrochemical production in Azerbaijan totaled 2.1 billion manats ($1.2 billion) during the first eight months of 2020, having increased by 2.2 percent compared to the same period of 2019, Trend reports citing a report from the State Statistical Committee.

Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund talks on currency sales via auctions

Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund (SOFAZ) has sold $5 billion or 8.5 billion manat via auctions held by the country’s Central Bank as of August 2020, SOFAZ told Trend.

“In accordance with our obligations, we sell foreign currencies via the auctions held by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. According to the decree of Azerbaijan’s President dated August 31, 2020 “On the budget of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund for 2020”, the Fund’s expenditures stand at 12.4 billion manat.

“The major part of the SOFAZ expenditures accounts for transfers to the state budget, as well as financing of the social and economic projects.

“Under the abovementioned obligations, Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund has sold $5 billion or 8.5 billion manat via auctions held by the country’s Central Bank as of August 2020. SOFAZ’s investment portfolio consists of high-liquidity and high-quality assets, which ensure full and timely fulfillment of all the obligations of the Fund,” said SOFAZ.

SOFAZ has no plans to increase proportion of shares in investment portfolio in 2020

Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund (SOFAZ) has no plans to increase the proportion of shares in its investment portfolio in 2020, the Fund told Trend.

“As of late June 2020, the proportion of shares in SOFAZ’s investment portfolio stood at 13.7 percent. All the tactical steps taken by SOFAZ as part of the strategic distribution of assets, as well as the decision on changing the volume of investments in shares, are based on the detailed macroeconomic analysis and market fundamentals. Although the limit for proportion of shares in SOFAZ’s investment policy is 25 percent, we do not plan to increase the proportion of shares in our investment portfolio this year. Nevertheless, we continuously follow the market tendencies and depending on the market conditions, we will be ready to review the proportion of shares in SOFAZ’s investment portfolio,” said the Fund.

SOFAZ to continue making necessary tactical adjustments to its investment activity

Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund (SOFAZ) will continue making necessary tactical adjustments to its investment activity the Fund told Trend.

“SOFAZ’s investment policy is aimed at creating a diversified and long-term investment portfolio with the limits envisaged in the documents regulating our activity. Although starting from 2012, SOFAZ began investing in more risky assets such as real estate and gold, the major part of the investment portfolio, i.e. 67 percent accounts for fixed income instruments. Based on this and taking into account the increasing market volatility and uncertainty, we took measures for further increasing the share of government bonds in order to reduce investment risks, including credit risks. Depending on how the macroeconomic situation on world markets changes, SOFAZ will continue to make the necessary tactical adjustment to its investment activity,” the Fund said.

Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli: Oil & gas output since start of development

Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) block of oil and gas fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea has produced 516 million tons of oil and 172 billion cubic meters of gas since the start of development till September 1, 2020, Trend reports referring to the article of Khoshbakht Yusifzade, the First Vice President of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.

Around 305 million tons of Azerbaijan’s profit oil was sold on world markets as of September 1, 2020, which accounts for 59 percent of the total volume of oil extracted from ACG up to now, he wrote.

During the first eight months of 2020, ACG produced 16 million tons of oil with 12 million tons or 75 percent accounting for Azerbaijan’s profit oil.

ACG will produce additional 500 million tons of oil by 2050 and additional $43 billion will be invested in this block by that time.

The volume of investments made in ACG to date stands at $43 billion.

Shah Deniz field produces more than 129 bcm of gas

Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field has produced more than 129 billion cubic meters of gas and 29 million tons of condensate since the start of development, Trend reports referring to the article of Khoshbakht Yusifzade, the First Vice President of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.

Shah Deniz 1 project delivered 9.8 billion cubic meters of gas to Georgia and 73.7 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey via the South Caucasus Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum) as of September 1, 2020.

Investment volume in Azerbaijan's oil&gas sector greatly increases

Some 3.8 billion manats ($2.2 billion) was invested in the Azerbaijani oil and gas sector from January through August 2020, which is by 18.7 percent more compared to the same period of 2019, Trend reports on Sept. 16 referring to the Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee.
SOCAR discloses output volume at Oil Rocks

Oil Rocks produced around 176.4 million tons of oil and 14 billion cubic meters of gas since the start of development, Trend reports referring to the article of Khoshbakht Yusifzade, the First Vice President of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.

“Currently, the field produces 945,000-950,000 tons of oil and 85 million cubic meters of gas per year. Over the recent years, around 300 kilometers of piers were constructed at the Oil Rocks.

“Around 270 million cubic meters of water was injected into the reservoirs at the Oil Rocks since the start of development, which has significantly extended the life of the wells with the free-flow production method and considerably increased the oil recovery factor of the reservoirs,” reads the article.

Azerbaijani oil sales on world markets revealed

Around 579 million tons of Azerbaijani oil was offered on world markets as of September 1, 2020, Trend reports referring to the article of Khoshbakht Yusifzade, the First Vice President of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.

The article shows that 162 million tons of this volume was transported via the Baku-Supsa, Baku-Novorossiysk pipelines and by railways, while 417 million tons were exported via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

JOCAP updates on ongoing works at Absheron gas field

The drilling works on Absheron ABD-001 well have been completed in November 2019 and it is the longest well (7411 m) drilled in the Caspian Sea, JOCAP, the Joint Operating company of the Absheron field on behalf of Contractor Parties SOCAR Absheron and TOTAL E&P Absheron BV, told Trend.

“The on-going works will connect the well through a 34 km insulated 12” line to a dedicated receiving platform in the vicinity of Oil Rocks facilities. Gas and liquids will be separated on the platform and further streamed to Oil Rocks facilities for further processing and export,” said the company.

These operations are part of the Absheron Early Production Scheme (EPS), the first stage of the Absheron field development, according to JOCAP.

“The reason for this early phase is to produce gas for the domestic market as soon as possible. In conducting operations at the Absheron field, JOCAP has a set of key priorities, such as, achieving a high level of operational safety and minimal environmental impact, contribute to meet the sustainable development goals, optimizing and maximizing production in a sustainable way, with a high level of availability and lower OPEX as reasonably possible.”

JOCAP announces time of pipe laying activities for Absheron gas field project

The pre-lay activities for Azerbaijan’s Absheron gas field project have been performed from 4th March to 1st June 2020 with the Gurban Abasov crane vessel, JOCAP, the Joint Operating company of the Absheron field on behalf of Contractor Parties SOCAR Absheron and TOTAL E&P Absheron BV, told Trend.

“The pipe laying activities will be performed by the Pipe Laying barge Israfil Huseynov from November 2020 to March 2021, followed by the umbilical laying activities with Gurban Abasov crane vessel from April to September 2021,” said the company.

JOCAP said the pandemic is impacting the equipment delivery from international suppliers and the sequence of offshore operations.

Next stage of Absheron field's development under study by JOCAP

The next stage of Absheron development (Phase 1) is currently under study by JOCAP, the Joint Operating company of the Absheron field on behalf of Contractor Parties SOCAR Absheron and TOTAL E&P Absheron BV, the company told Trend.

“The sequence of conceptual, pre-FEED (Front End Engineering Design) and FEED studies could lead to a FID (Final Investment Decision) in 2023/2024, targeting a gas production plateau up to 5 Bcm per year,” said the company.

Ukraine discloses volumes of oil imports from Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan transported 43,000 tons of oil to Ukrainian refineries during the first eight months of 2020, Trend reports citing the Ukrtransnafta JSC.

The volume of supplied oil in the first eight months of 2020 amounted to 10.3 million tons, which is 8.3 percent more compared to the same period of 2020, said the company.

“In August 2020, the volume of oil transportation to Ukrainian refineries decreased by 0.9 percent, making up 225,000 tons. Of these, the company transported 117,100 tons of Ukrainian oil to refineries, 43,000 tons - Azerbaijani and 65,400 tons - American (WTI),” the company noted.

“The total volume of oil transported from Azerbaijan to Ukrainian refineries from January through August 2020 reached 1.7 million tons, having increased by 12.2 percent compared to the same period of 2019. At the same time, the volume of oil transit to the Ukrainian refineries amounted to 8.6 million tons, a growth of 7.5 percent,” said the company.

“The total volume of Azerbaijani oil transported in August 2020 decreased by 8 percent compared to August 2019, making up 1.5 million tons. In particular, the volume of oil transit by pipeline through Ukraine declined by 9.2 percent, amounting to 1.3 million tons,” the company added.

TAP project almost 98% completed

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, is 97.9 percent completed as of the end of August 2020, Trend reports referring to the TAP AG consortium.

“TAP is moving closer to completing the project construction phase. In preparation for the start of commercial operation and as part of the testing and commissioning phase, the TAP pipeline has been filled with natural gas from the Greek-Turkish border up to the compressor station in Fier, Albania. At the end of August 2020, the TAP project was 97.9 percent completed,” reads a message from TAP AG.

SOCAR Turkey’s Kayserigaz expanding to new areas

Kayserigaz, a subsidiary of SOCAR Turkey, has started natural gas supplies to Ebic, Kocasinan (Kayseri, Turkey), Trend reports citing Turkish media.

The total cost of the project, which envisaged construction of a 25 kilometers long gas supply line is 2.5 million Turkish liras ($330,990).

Director General of Kayserigaz Dincer Akbaba noted that amid the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company ensured uninterrupted natural gas supplies and at the same time, continued investments in constructing infrastructure to reach out new areas.

The infrastructure construction lasted two months and a half, he said.

Moreover, Akbaba noted that the company plans to complete the construction of 182 kilometers long gas supply lines with 33.5 million Turkish liras ($4,434,421) worth investment by the end of 2020.

Azerbaijan's oil pumping through BTC pipeline shrinks

Some 19 million tons of oil were transported via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline from January through August 2020, which is 10.4 percent less compared to the same period in 2019, Trend reports on Sept.18 referring to a report of the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan.

In 2020, 79.7 percent of the total oil transported through the country's main oil pipelines accounted for the BTC pipeline.

According to the committee, over 23.9 million tons of oil were shipped through the main pipelines.

In the past 8 months of this year, almost 2.7 million tons of transit (Turkmen) oil were pumped through the BTC, which is 12.9 percent less compared to the same period of last year.

IGB to start commercial operations by July 2021

The 3 billion cubic meter (bcm) per year Bulgaria-Greece Interconnector (IGB) project aims to start commercial operations by July 2021, Teodora Georgieva, chief executive officer/executive director at project company ICGB told ICIS, Trend reports.

“From the point of view of the regulatory requirements, the project company also has a time commitment to the natural gas traders, who have reserved capacity in IGB, which is July 1, 2021. The Exemption decision specifies a date of commercial operation no later than 1 July deadline,” Georgieva said.

Georgieva said ICGB is striving for the launch to happen in 2021 but added that the date of commercial operation is not entirely related to Azerbaijani gas, deliveries of which will start in December this year. “This is only one source of natural gas. We expect natural gas to be transported through the IGB from a variety of sources, including LNG,” she said.

Companies reserving capacity in IGB disclosed

The US company Linden Energy has reserved 276 million cubic metres (mcm) per year capacity in the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), Teodora Georgieva, chief executive officer/executive director at project company ICGB told ICIS, Trend reports.

She added that Linden Energy intends to use the capacity to supply Bulgaria with regassified LNG delivered to Greece adding “we expect to sign a gas transmission agreement for 276 mcm per year.”

“An important stage of the project was the signing of the gas transmission agreements, which secured the ICGB revenues in the long run, namely the function of long-term reserved capacity,” the ICGB executive director explained.

According to Georgieva, ICGB has reserved 1bcm of capacity per year based on the contract between Bulgargaz and the Azerbaijan state oil and gas company SOCAR.

“With these quantities per year from Azerbaijan we will change the appearance of the market in Bulgaria where total consumption is about 3bcm per year,” said Georgieva.

Greek public gas corporation DEPA and the Italian energy group Edison reserved 200mcm/year and 100mcm/year of capacity respectively.

SOCAR gives sneak peek of its new dev’t strategy

The new development strategy of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR until 2035 has been worked out together with McKinsey and Company, said SOCAR’s President Rovnag Abdullayev,Trend reports.

Abdullayev announced in his article that the new strategy will soon be presented to the government.

“The major principles of the strategy is to ensure SOCAR’s sustainable development, improved effective management, increasing social and environmental responsibilirt, evaluating the country’s fuel energy demand, ensuring the company’s profitability and debt management.

“SOCAR’s Corporate Strategy 2035 sets out the main directions of coordination of the future operations, as well as integration of the value chain. The Corporate Strategy, worked out in accordance with the Industry 4.0 requirements, focuses on digitalization of production, increasing investments in innovation and venture projects, optimizing human resource potential with professional development programs.

“Based on the new strategy, SOCAR will revise its investment portfolio, thereby ensuring its business sustainability and increasing the effectiveness of its operating model. One of the main goals is to fully meet the domestic demand for oil, gas, processing and chemical industry products, as well as continuously increasing Azerbaijan’s role in ensuring the global energy security. Taking into account the growing popularity of renewable energy sphere, SOCAR intends to develop low-carbon business in the future,” he wrote.

SOCAR applying digital road map for using high technologies

A digital road map for using high technologies has been developed and is being successfully applied in Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR’s facilities in the country and abroad, said SOCAR’s President Rovnag Abdullayev, Trend reports.

“Cutting edge technologies, in particular digital technologies are used in the new facilities of SOCAR, including in the polypropylene and high-density polyethylene producing plants of SOCAR-Polymer complex, STAR refinery in Turkey, as well as the in the carbamide plant. SOCAR successfully applies the digitalization program in all its operations ranging from exploration at fields, transportation of energy resources to the final processing.

“The company has launched a Digital field project to improve the oil and gas extraction processes. Jointly with foreign partners, SOCAR is creating a single data source, which will allow integrated planning, modeling, analyzing and monitoring of the entire oil production processes. The company has already applied the digital method in two of its oil extraction departments,” Abdullayev wrote.

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