Major events in Caspian countries' oil and gas industry for last week (may 2- 6)

Iran stopping gasoline import

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is becoming self-sufficient in gasoline production, Shana news agency reported. Rouhani said that Iran has been a gasoline importer for years and now the country’s domestic gasoline production is meeting the consumption. Iran inaugurated Persian Gulf Star Refinery’s first phase recently to produce 12 million liters of gasoline per day (ml/d).

The Persian Gulf Star Refinery will add 360,000 b/d, while Siraf Complex, Anahita and Bahman Geno refineries will add 480,000 b/d, 150,000 b/d and 300,000 b/d to Iran’s current refining capacity, which stands at 1.8 mb/d.

Iran plans to complete four refineries, with overall capacity of 1.290 mb/d, and inaugurate them in the coming years.

French company leaving Azerbaijan’s Absheron gas project: sources

France’s Engie agreed to sell its 20 percent stake in the Azerbaijani Absheron gas field project to its two partners in the project – Total and SOCAR, sources in oil and gas market said. Thus, as a result of the deal, the shares of France’s Total, which is the technical operator of the project, and Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR will increase up to 50 percent each.

“Currently, Engie is working to fulfill all its obligations under the project,” the sources said. “The deal is expected to be closed in July. Afterwards, everything will be ready to set up a joint company which will be the operator of the field’s development. Total will have a 50 percent share and the remaining 50 percent will account for SOCAR.”

Azerbaijani parliament ratifies new gas contract

The Azerbaijani parliament (Milli Majlis) has ratified a risk service contract (contract with a minimum guarantee of compensation) on the exploration and development of the offshore block, which includes the Umid gas field and the promising Babek structure in the Caspian Sea. The contract was signed between Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and SOCAR Umid Oil and Gas Ltd.

The Azerbaijani parliament has also ratified an additional contract for the exploration and carrying out of oil and gas operations to develop the sea block that includes the Umid field and the promising Babek structure in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, signed between SOCAR Umid Oil and Gas Ltd and Umid-Babek Exploration & Production.

According to the results of drilling of the first exploration well, the volume of the Umid field reserves hit over 200 billion cubic meters of gas and 40 million tons of condensate, SOCAR specialists said. Reserves of the perspective Babek field may be 400 billion cubic meters of gas and 80 million tons of condensate.

SOCAR completes new generation drilling rig construction

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has constructed a new generation oil platform in Baku, a source in the country’s oil and gas market, said.

"The construction has been successfully completed,” the source said. “All the necessary tests have been conducted at the platform. The platform was jacked to the Baku Shipyard and it is being prepared for the opening."

Construction of the first new generation drilling rig for SOCAR started in 2013. The new rig is designed for drilling of wells with a depth of up to 8,000 meters at a sea depth of 1,000 meters. The maximum depth of the Caspian Sea is 1,025 meters.

Caspian Drilling Company Ltd (CDC, 92.44-percent share is owned by SOCAR) is the drilling operator. Contractor of the drilling rig’s construction is Singapore’s Keppel FELS Ltd.

The cost of the project is $1.117 billion. The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) has financed the construction.

Turkmenistan starts exporting 98 RON gasoline to Afghanistan

The first cargo of 98 RON (AI 98) ultra premium gasoline, produced at the Seydi oil refinery in Turkmenistan, was sent to Afghanistan, said an article on Nebit-Gaz, the online newspaper of the Turkmen Oil and Gas Complex. Production of the 98 RON gasoline became possible through the commissioning of LCh-35-11/1000 catalytic reforming unit at the refinery. The unit’s commissioning was implemented by the WTL (FZE) group of companies from the UAE and the Westport Trading Europe Limited from the US. The design capacity of the unit is 500,000 tons per year. It is planned to annually produce 412,000 tons of components of the 98 RON gasoline with help of the new unit.

Uzbekistan to build oil pipeline to Kazakh border

Uzbekistan will build an oil pipeline to the border with Kazakhstan in order to supply imported oil to a new refinery, the construction of which began in April 2017 in Uzbekistan’s Jizzakh region, Uzbekneftegaz national oil and gas holding company said.

The 95-kilometer oil pipeline will be connected to the existing Omsk-Pavlodar-Shymkent oil pipeline for the supply of imported oil from Russia and Kazakhstan. Currently, the technical parameters of the project are being developed.

At the end of April 2017, Uzbekistan started construction of a new refinery in Zafarobod district of the country’s Jizzakh region. The refinery has design capacity of processing of five million tons of oil per year, production of 3.7 million tons of motor fuel, over 700,000 tons of aviation fuel and 300,000 tons of associated oil products.

Turkmenistan discovers large natural gas field

A promising natural gas field was discovered in the Uzun-Ada area in Turkmenistan’s Balkan Region, the Turkmen government said in a message. Experts of the Turkmenneft state concern, after drilling an ultra-deep well with a projected depth of 7,150 meters, received a commercial inflow of natural gas within the interval of 6,689-6,695 meters.

"According to preliminary estimates, the well productivity is 500,000 cubic meters of natural gas and 150 tons of gas condensate per day," reads the message.

Azerbaijan, ADB signed loan agreement to support Shah Deniz development project

Azerbaijan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement of $ 500 million to support the second stage of the Shah Deniz development project, the Finance Ministry said. The agreement was signed by the Azerbaijani Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov and the head of ADB Takehiko Nakao on the margins of the annual meeting of the Bank's Board of Governors in Yokohama, Japan.

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