BAKU, Azerbaijan, Apr.8
By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:
Shafag-Asiman was the biggest prospect globally in Wood Mackenzie’s Exploration Well Tracker, Robert Morris, principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie told Trend.
He noted that for BP, successfully delivering a highly complex exploration well during the global pandemic is an achievement in itself.
“But the discovery of hydrocarbons has potentially huge significance. Shafag Asiman was the biggest prospect globally in Wood Mackenzie’s Exploration Well Tracker. 25+ tcf and 1 billion barrels of condensate are the kind of resource numbers that have been talked about, or another Shah Deniz. However, given the complex geology of the South Caspian and the limited data, we are extremely cautious at this stage.
Even if it turns out to be a giant, commercialisation of greenfield Azerbaijani gas comes with daunting challenges. Technical complexity, high costs, logistical risks and limited gas market access are all big hurdles to overcome. In the past, this has been balanced out by the sheer quality of the rocks – Azerbaijan boasts some of the most productive wells ever drilled,” he said.
Morris noted that if one company is best-placed to tackle those challenges it is BP, with its many years of Caspian Sea experience. “But there will undoubtedly be questions about how closely such a project would align with the Major’s long-term energy transition strategy.”
Geological exploration work at the Shafag-Asiman block is being carried out as part of the joint project of SOCAR and BP. In accordance with the Production Sharing Agreement, drilling was operated by BP at a depth of 623 meters and was carried out by SOCAR's subsidiary Caspian Drilling Company using a semi-submersible drilling rig named after Heydar Aliyev. Drilling began on January 11, 2020.
Shafag-Asiman field is located 125 km south-east of Baku. The block covers an area of 1,100 square meters. The sea depth here is 650-800 meters Shafag-Asiman was discovered in 1961. On October 7, 2010, SOCAR and BP signed an agreement "On exploration, development and production sharing of the Shafag-Asiman offshore block in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea." The agreement is valid for 30 years. In accordance with the agreement, in 2012 BP conducted a 3D seismic survey at the Shafag-Asiman block. Based on the processing and interpretation of the received data, the partners determined the location of the first exploration well and started drilling the well in 2020.
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