Iran welcomes co-op with SOCAR in all spheres (exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 1

By Dalga Khatinoglu – Trend:

National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and Azerbaijan’s state-run SOCAR have signed several good deals and negotiations on expansion of bilateral cooperation continue, Ali Shakarami the head of operation Dispatching Control Centre of NIGC told Trend.

According to him, the sides have already started gas swap operations and the volume of swap can increase in future.

Currently the gas swap operation between Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan continues. Turkmenistan has started gas swap with Azerbaijan since October 2016.

Turkmenistan delivers gas to Iran’a Qadr Company and Azerbaijan receives the same amount of gas on border with Iran, paying cash fee to the Islamic Republic. During 2016 Azerbaijan received more than 290 million cubic meters of gas from swap operations.

Shakarami who represented NIGC at the 24th International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition, being held in Baku from May31-June 3, added that SOCAR can also get involved in drilling operations at Iran’s oil and gas fields and the negotiations in this sphere also continue.

Shakarami didn’t mention the fields themselves, but an Iranian source told Trend earlier that those fields are onshore, in east western regions of the Islamic Republic.

Teymur Eyvazov the Rig Manager at Caspian Drilling Company Ltd. told Trend that this company also can provide drilling services for Iran on the Caspian Sea, in case SOCAR and Iran’s Oil Ministry start negotiations and reach a result.

Caspian Drilling Company owns several progressive rigs, including Dada Gorgud, Istiglal and a new semi-submersible drilling rig of the 6th generation named after national leader Heydar Aliyev, which would start drilling in offshore Absheron gas field in September for the first time, which aims to produce 1.5 billion cubic meters per year of gas in 2019 initially. Then the rig can be used in Shah Deniz gas field or other projects.

Iran holds a 10-percent share in Azerbaijan's offshore gas field, Shah Deniz.

Back in 2014, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh explained the country's interests in cooperation with Azerbaijan, in an exclusive interview with Trend.

The most important issue for Iran currently is the development of about 50 oil and gas fields, offered to foreigners last month within the framework of new designed oil and gas contracts, called Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC).

Iran has offered 4 projects in the Caspian Sea, blocks 24, 26 and 29 as well as Sardar-e Jangal oil fields.

Meanwhile, Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov said last week that his company planned to study the possibility of working with Iran on the Sardar-e Jangal field. Lukoil is also negotiating with Iran over development of onshore Ab Teymour and Mansouri oil fields.

Iran divided its exploration area in the Caspian Sea to 46 blocks which 8 of them have priority. Iran had carried out 3D seismic operations in 4000 square kilometers of the Caspian Sea at blocks 6,7,8 and 21 from 2003 to 2005 by his Pejvak ship, which was fired in 2005.

Iran also announced in 2012 that while drilling a 1,000-meter well below the surface of the Caspian Sea by Amir Kabir drilling rig, the country found a gas field at the depth of 700 kilometers. A year later Tehran announced the field (Sardar-e Jangal) was in fact an oil field with a gas layer.

Iranian part of the sea has been studied with Azerbaijani equipment two times - once before the fall of the Soviet Union, and then in 1994 and 1995 - to discover possible hydrocarbon reserves, but to no avail.

Azerbaijan also has all the technical equipment from rig building yards like Heydar Aliyev Baku Deepwater Jackets Factory, barges for transferring the rigs and platforms as well as laying pipelines under sea, huge cranes, seismic vessels, several rigs to be rent to Iran as well as supportive ships for various operational activities.

Sardar-e Jangal field

This field, located at block 6 with dimensions of 24x6 km in 750 meter water depth. Iran has drilled two exploration wells and reportedly the field holds 2 billion barrels of crude oil, with API of 39.

Blocks 24, 26 and 29

Block 24 is located 130 km to north Nowshahr port with 600-800 meters depth and 200 square km area.

Block 26 also is situated 100 km to north-east Anzali port, with 850-900 meters depth and 384 square km area.

Block 29 also located 135 km to north Nowshahr port with 800 meters depth and 1028 square km area.


Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector and head of Trend Agency's Iran news service

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