Perspective oil & gas structures in Azerbaijan: 2021 review

Oil&Gas Materials 29 December 2021 15:07 (UTC +04:00)
Perspective oil & gas structures in Azerbaijan: 2021 review

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec.29

By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:


A 30-year contract on Shafag-Asiman was signed in October 2010. 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 south-east of Baku. It is located at a depth of 650-800 meters with the depth of the reservoir at 7,000 meters.

Project status

The depth of the first exploration well, the drilling of which began on January 13, 2020, reached a depth of 5,305 metres in February 2021.

In March 2021, SOCAR announced that gas and condensate reserves have been discovered in Shafag-Asiman. Comprehensive exploration work has been carried out at a depth of 7,189 meters in an exploration well and the first gas condensate reserves have been discovered. Thus, drilling of the Fasila formation in the field was successfully completed.

In late March 2021, bp said that the drilling of the first Shafag-Asiman exploration well has been completed to the base of the Fasila reservoir to a depth of 7189 metres. bp logged gas condensate resource in the penetrated reservoirs. The company said the resource will need further evaluation. bp therefore suspended the well to evaluate its results and consider next steps for appraisal, potentially including a sidetrack appraisal well.

bp said in June 2021 that it has started the evaluation of Shafag-Asiman field, but will need some time to complete this work and plan next steps for appraisal.

Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP)

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 Dec. 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 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.

In September 2021, bp said has agreed to sell a 25 percent participating interest in the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP) exploration project in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to LUKOIL.

Following completion of the sale, bp will remain operator of the SWAP production sharing agreement (PSA) during the exploration period, holding a 25% interest. On completion, participating interests in the PSA will be: SOCAR Oil Affiliate – 50 percent, bp – 25 percent and LUKOIL – 25 percent.

Subject to approval from the government of Azerbaijan, the deal, with an effective date of 1 July 2021, is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Project status

In March 2021, bp said that all necessary permissions have been obtained for the drilling of the first exploration well at the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP). bp said it was planning to commence exploration drilling activities on the SWAP area in the second quarter of 2021.

Three exploration wells are planned in three perspective areas as part of the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula project.

SOCAR and bp announced that the first exploration well was spudded in the North Khali prospective area of the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP) offshore block in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea on 16 August. This followed the safe sail-away on 9 August of the Satti jack-up rig which is drilling the well.

The Satti jack-up rig moved to the Bibi-Heybat prospective area to commence the drilling of the second SWAP exploration well - BHEX0.This follows the abandoning of the first SWAP exploration well drilled in the North Khali area as per the original design and plan.

The BHEX01 exploration well will be drilled within the West Prospective Area of the SWAP Contract Area, approximately 1.5km from the coast, in the water depth of approximately 7m. The well is planned to reach total depth of up to 4400 metres,

Drilling activities commenced on 11 December and are expected to take approximately four months to complete with a further month of drilling anticipated should appraisal activities be required for obtaining further reservoir information.

Block D230

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.

Project status

On D230, the interpretation of the seismic data is currently ongoing. If the results from the interpretation of the seismic survey are positive, bp will consider further exploration activities.


Absheron project participants include SOCAR - 50 percent and France’s Total - 50 percent.

Engie, which previously owned a 20-percent stake, left the project in June 2017.

A contract on the Absheron field was signed Feb. 27, 2009 between SOCAR and Total.

JOCAP is the Joint Operating company of the Absheron field on behalf of Contractor Parties SOCAR Absheron and TOTAL E&P Absheron BV.

Project status

In October 2021, JOCAP said that fabrication of topside modules of EPS Platform for Absheron gas field project in Azerbaijan is ongoing with the installation of the key process equipment. JOCAP said that 82 percent of Module AM03 (Absheron Module), 78 percent of Module AM02, 69 percent of AM01 are already completed.

Along the fabrication, hydro tests of process lines are ongoing. Most of the equipment is delivered to Baku Deep Water Jacket yard including the technical building.

Offshore activities resumed in September with the installation of the umbilical along the flow line between the subsea well head and the new Absheron platform. Works going on at the Baku Deep Water Jacket yard include: integration of equipment inside electrical and instrument rooms part of Technical Building, fabrication of concrete slabs for the Bridge road, fabrication of interface structure / transition piece between Oil Rocks and new EPS Bridge, fabrication of outstanding Mini-Jackets , bridge sections & Vent Tower, continuation of Topside Modules fabrication.

The jacket (platform support frame) for the platform around the Oil Rocks as part of the Absheron field project was installed and secured in January and offshore installation campaign went smoothly in spring time with the installation of Mini-Jackets BJ023-BJ03-BJ04-BJ05 supporting the bridge from EPS4 Platform to Oil Rocks facilities. Bridge sections BR03 / BR04 /BR05 were installed offshore as well. “The campaign was achieved without any HSE incident.

This year the first elements of the access bridge were installed in the vicinity of Oil Rocks. This bridge, once connected to the Oil Rocks facilities
will provide access to the new Absheron platform. This year JOCAP installed as well the umbilical between the well head located in the Absheron field in 450 m water depth and the new Absheron platform located near Oil Rocks. The umbilical is an essential link between the well and the platform, it is composed of electrical cables and hydraulic hoses.

Nakhchivan, Caspian-Guba and Goshadash

On Jan. 22, 2020, SOCAR and LUKOIL signed a memorandum of understanding on the Nakhchivan prospective structure in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, as well as on the exploration block covering the Caspian-Guba and Goshadash prospective structures in the shallow waters of the sea.

Nakhchivan prospective structure is located in the deepwater part of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, 90 kilometers south of the Absheron Peninsula. In the area of ​​the structure, the depth of the sea varies within 120-750 meters. The structure was discovered in 1960 as a result of seismic survey.

Goshadash prospective structure is located in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, 20 kilometers northeast of Sumgayit city. In 1957-1977, seismic surveys were carried out in the area.

Project status

Detailed assessment is underway on Nakhchivan, Caspian-Guba and Goshadash prospective structures in Azerbaijan, Russia’s LUKOIL company told Trend.

The ongoing work within these exploration projects covers detailed assessment and study of the prospects of structures. This work is carried out in accordance with the schedule.

Ashrafi-Dan Ulduzu-Aypara (ADUA)

The ADUA exploration area is located around 50 kilometers east of Baku, around 14 kilometers to the east of Azerbaijani mainland (Absheron peninsula), and approximately 7 kilometers to the east of Azerbaijan’s Pirallahi and Chilov islands, in water depth varying between 20 and 225 meters.

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and Statoil Azerbaijan (part of the Equinor group) signed a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) for the Ashrafi-Dan Ulduzu-Aypara (ADUA) exploration area on May 30, 2018.

Project status

The seismic acquisition was completed at Ashrafi-Dan Ulduzu-Aypara (ADUA) in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea in February 2020.

In May 2020 Equinor decided to postpone the drilling of the Aypara prospect due to challenges in operating during the current COVID-19 context.

In March 2021, SOCAR said that the preliminary results of interpretation of 2D and 3D seismic exploration at Ashrafi-Dan Ulduzu-Aypara (ADUA) perspective structure give ground to talk about more than expected oil and gas reserves there.

An exploration well may be drilled in the near future to get accurate figures of oil and gas reserves in the structure.

Exploration work at ADUA commenced in the second half of 2018 and 2D and 3D seismic exploration was completed in 2019. The results were processed in 2020 and currently, their interpretation is ongoing.

In October 2021, Equinor and SOCAR discussed opportunities for exploration works at Ashrafi-Dan Ulduzu-Aypara perspective structure.

Karabagh field

The Karabagh prospective structure was identified in 1959 as a result of seismic surveys. It was specified in 1984 and its oil and gas reserves were confirmed in 1997-1998 through exploration drilling. The oilfield is located 120 km east of Baku, at a depth of 150-200 meters in the open sea.

The consortium operated by Caspian International Petroleum Company (CIPCO) drilled three exploration wells in the Karabagh PSA signed in 1995: two wells found gas in the southeast portion of the structure and the third well indicated presence of oil in the western part of the structure. In 1999, the PSA was terminated due to the non-commercial discovery.

In May 2018, SOCAR Karabagh and Equinor signed a Risk Service Agreement related to development of Karabagh Oil Field in the Azerbaijan Sector of Caspian Sea. According to the agreement, they hold equal shares.

Since 1994, SOCAR and Equinor have been cooperating in important joint projects, including the operating of the Azeri Chirag and Deep Water Gunashli (ACG) oil field.

Project status

In March 2020, Azerbaijan State Oil Company SOCAR and Norwegian Equinor have confirmed the fact of discovery of the Karabagh oil field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, 120 kilometers east of Baku.

The drilling of the first appraisal well at Karabagh oil field was started on December 23, 2019. The well was drilled in water depth of 180 meters by the Dada Gorgud semi-submersible drilling rig operated by SOCAR’s Caspian Drilling Company (CDC). The reservoir is at a depth of approximately 3.4 kilometers. Estimated size of the discovered volumes of oil and gas are satisfactory for pursuing commercial development of the Karabagh field.

Its oil reserves estimated more than 60 million tons. It will produce 1.5 million tons of oil per year, but it is too early to predict the volume of exports from this field.

The joint venture of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and Norway’s Equinor for the Karabagh oil field has been established and the two companies each have a 50 percent share.

In March 2021, SOCAR said that in joint venture with KBR, the company expects to implement the concept design Pre-FEED and FEED phases for the topsides of the platform to be installed at the field.

Later in March, SOCAR said that the development plan of Azerbaijan’s Karabagh field may be revised depending on the positive results from new perspective oil and gas structures.

In April, SOCAR said it wants to adopt the final decision on the technical details of Karabagh field’s development as soon as possible. SOCAR and Equinor set up a working group of specialists, which regularly holds consultations and carries out joint work.

In August 2021, it was announced that Equinor and SOCAR are detailing a possible development solution for Karabagh project. Equinor continues to work with SOCAR to progress and mature the Karabagh project, and this includes detailing a possible development solution.

It is panned to commence production at Azerbaijan’s Karabagh field in 2025. It is planned to drill 12 wells at a depth of 180 meters and build 20 deep seabed in the Karabagh field. Currently, the engineering work is underway.

Dostlug field

On January 21, 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum on joint development of the Dostlug field in the Caspian Sea. Dostlug is a new name of the field that is located on the border of Azerbaijani and Turkmen sectors of the Caspian Sea. It was known as Kepez in Azerbaijan and Sardar in Turkmenistan. The negotiations on the joint development of the field were held before.

It is an oil and gas field and SOCAR supposes that its reserves can be approved by carrying out modern methods of seismic exploration and probably, exploratory drilling. It is necessary to outline many technical and commercial issues related to the future development of this field. The memorandum is the first step towards reaching this goal.

Project status

Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will prepare a new intergovernmental agreement. Within the future agreement the resources of the field will be distributed between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in the ratio of 30 to 70 percent, respectively. A joint working group will be set up to prepare the agreement in the near future.

In February 2021, the Parliament of Azerbaijan approved the memorandum of understanding on joint exploration, development and study of hydrocarbon resources of the Dostlug field.

In June 2021, Russia’s Lukoil company said it is holding the negotiations to join the Dostlug project.

Later in June, SOCAR announced that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are developing a draft agreement on Dostlug field.

In July 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan agreed upon further steps in the field of cooperation on the Dostlug field.


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