Major events in Caspian countries' oil and gas industry for week (April 15-19)

Jacket for new platform sailed away by BP

The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) announced that the jacket for the West Chirag platform built as part of the Chirag Oil Project (COP) sailed away from the Heydar Aliyev Baku Deepwater Jackets Factory (BDJF) for offshore installation.

The jacket transportation, launch and installation activities have been carefully planned and are expected to take 45 days to complete, including allowance for the weather conditions.

The West Chirag jacket is the heaviest jacket ever built in the Caspian and it was fully constructed in the country using local construction infrastructure at the Heydar Aliyev Baku Deepwater Jackets Factory's facilities.

Over 2000 people including subcontractors and vendors were involved in the construction works.

The jacket has a total weight of 18,200 tonnes and is about 185 metres high. It will be installed at a water depth of about 170 metres.

Fitch affirms SOCAR at 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has affirmed State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic's (SOCAR) Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB-', Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F3' and senior unsecured rating at 'BBB-'. The Outlook on the Long-term IDR is Stable, the agency said.

SOCAR's ratings, Azerbaijan's ('BBB-'/Stable) wholly state-owned national oil company, are aligned with the sovereign's at the current level, the statement said.

SOCAR conducts exploratory well drilling in Caspian Sea

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) conducts drilling of an exploratory well at the Bulla-Deniz field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, Azneft Production Unit of SOCAR said.

According to the report, the well will be drilled in order to test oil and gas content of the seventh horizon of reservoir at the offshore field.

"The project depth of the well is 5,800 meters, at present its depth is 4,900 meters," the report says.

The Bulla-Deniz field is located at 80 kilometers south from Baku, and it was opened in 1975.

Indian company extracts oil in Georgia

Indian oil firm Jindal petroleum LTD started oil production in Georgia. The Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation said that the production was launched from a new well in the Sartichal section, Samgori field in eastern Georgia.

According to the report, drilling was launched on January 26, 2013 and ended on March 8. As a result, a deviated well with a depth of 2450 metres gave oil purified of water at a flow rate of 24 cubic meters per day. According to preliminary estimates, the remaining oil has risen from 2.4 million tons to 8.7 million tons at this section.

The company is conducting similar work in the XI licence block at the field in Krtsanisi (Eastern Georgia). A well with a depth of 2003 metres has been drilled at this section.

Jindal petroleum LTD is also drilling a test well on the licence block in Okami (Eastern Georgia). The design depth of the well is 3500 metres.

Oil minister: Iran to invest $30 billion in petroleum industry

The 18th International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition opened at Tehran's permanent International Fairgrounds.

Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said the ministry planned to invest USD 30 billion dollars in the country's petroleum industry in the current Persian year (beginning March 21, 2013), Press TV reported.

"Last year we invested USD 25 billion dollars in the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) alone despite the difficult conditions of the petroleum industry," Qasemi said.

Referring to the punitive measures imposed against the Islamic Republic's energy sector by the West, Qasemi said the achievement of sanctions was the production of many items inside the country.

Qasemi added that indigenous production of equipment would eliminate the country's need for foreign goods in the near future.

Fitch assigns Kazakh KazMunayGas's notes expected 'BBB(EXP)' rating

Fitch Ratings has assigned JSC National Company KazMunayGas's (NC KMG) USD-denominated notes an expected foreign currency senior unsecured 'BBB(EXP)' rating, Fitch reported. The notes are issued under NC KMG's the USD10.5 billion medium term programme rated at 'BBB' by Fitch.

Fitch upgraded NC KMG's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) in November 2012 to reflect the upgrade of Kazakhstan's Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs to 'BBB+' and 'A-' respectively.

Kazakhstan to exempt subsoil users from VAT on exploration

The government of Kazakhstan is going to exempt subsoil users from VAT on exploration works, KazTAG reported.

"The government wants to introduce such a system that would maximise and facilitate the financial issues related to exploration within the scope of fiscal policy.

"These are issues such as the exemption from value added tax and the possibility of subsoil users engaged in four or five projects to transfer their costs from one project to another and to show the total cost of their business in their balance sheets," Deputy Minister of Industry and New Technologies Nurlan Sauranbayev said during the Minex-2013 forum.

The deputy minister noted that the social responsibility of subsoil users will come into force only after they find some reserves.

Turkmenistan rapidly provides large Galkynysh gas field with necessary facilities

Operations for the rapid provision of the necessary facilities and commissioning of the "Galkynysh" field located in Mary region are underway in Turkmenistan. The infrastructure of gas production and gas processing facilities is being created. It has been calculated to the amount of 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year, Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper said.

The article referring to the field development department said that the largest investment project worth about $ 10 billion is planned to be implemented soon and the first phase of the field development is planned to be completed by the middle of the year.

The project includes the drilling of several dozen exploitation wells, construction of commercial gas pipelines, four installations for preliminary preparation of gas and three gas desulphurization plants with a total capacity of 30 billion cubic meters of tank gas per year.

Contractors such as Hyndai Engineering CO. LTD (Republic of Korea), CNPC Driling Engineering CO. LTD (China), Petrofac International LLC, Gulf Oil and Si Gas (United Arab Emirates) are operating on the field. Turkmengaz State Concern signed service contracts on "Galkynysh".

Uzbekistan allocates funds for development of country's major gas fields

The Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan (FRDU) allocated a loan of $30 million to Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company (NHC) for the integrated development of gas fields in Gazlinsk region, a representative of the holding said.

According to the holding's representative, loan funds will be used to fund the construction of related infrastructure, in particular, compressor stations on the Kulbeshkak, Hodzhikazgan, Dayahatyn, Syuzma, Kumli and Chegarakum fields.

These fields were discovered in the early 90's, but have not yet been developed. Confirmed reserves have not been disclosed.
According to the report, the systems will produce up to five billion cubic meters of gas per year combined by 2018.

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