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BP outlines plans for extensive Caspian Sea drilling programme

12/02/2019
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News reaches us at EngineeringPro that BP is planning to launch an ambitious two-year exploration and drilling programme in Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea in order to substantially boost the country’s natural gas exports.
BP's Shah Deniz Bravo platform in the Caspian.
(BP’s Shah Deniz Bravo platform in the Caspian. Image via BP).

The news was confirmed by a spokesperson for BP who spoke to regional news site Eurasianet.

It is expected that the exploration and drilling programme will begin this year and will involve the drilling of four new exploration wells in three separate blocks, and seismic surveys of a fourth block.

Two of these wells are likely to be drilled in the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula block, about 30 kilometres southeast of Baku, which BP owns in an equal partnership with the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR. The third well planned for this year is in the Shafag-Asiman block which is located in deeper waters about 125 kilometres southeast of Baku. The fourth well slated for this year is situated in the Gobustan block, in an inland field about 50 kilometres west of Baku.

Taman Bayatli, the BP spokesperson, also stated that another three exploration wells are planned for 2020- again with the aim of uncovering substantial gas reserves.

Whilst these exploration wells are just that – exploratory, BP and Azerbaijani officials have long predicted that some of the fields in the Caspian Sea are still to yield substantial reserves of gas. Recent seismic surveys of the Shafag-Asiman block have indicated reserves in the range of 500 billion cubic metres. Should this prove to be true, it would make the field one of the largest ever found in the Caspian.
An overview of the Southern Gas Corridor which will send gas supplies from Azerbaijan through Turkey into Europe
(An overview of the Southern Gas Corridor which will send gas supplies from Azerbaijan through Turkey into Europe. Image via TAP).

BP has only just recently started sending gas from the second phase of Shah Deniz through a new link between the Caspian Sea and Turkey to European buyers. However, this may only be the start with the new drilling campaign hinting that BP could be about to pour billions more into the Eurasia region. 

The presence of potential massive gas reserves next to energy-hungry Europe would be a massive boon for BP which is why the company is stepping up its exploration activity according to Gary Jones, BP’s regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. “Alongside Brazil, Azerbaijan stands out in terms of the areas of focus for the next few years,” said Jones in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “It’s a very significant exploration program for us, which demonstrates the confidence and the role that we see in the Caspian”.

“That’s why we’ve got quite an ambitious exploration programme developing in the Caspian looking at some other very significant gas options. We could take this source of supply of gas well into the middle of the century” Jones concluded.
A section of BP's Shah Deniz 2 pipeline in Azerbaijan.
(A section of BP’s Shah Deniz 2 pipeline in Azerbaijan. Image via BP).

Not only would significant new natural gas finds help an energy hungry Europe, but they would also have an impact on the geopolitical situation which currently sees many European countries heavily reliant on gas supplies from Russia. New sources of gas from the Caspian will offer an alternative supply which will help ease this delicate political situation. To put the Caspian’s source of gas into context, the two phases of Shah Deniz alone will produce about 26 billion cubic metres of gas a year, more than the annual consumption of Poland. 

New sources of natural gas from the Shafag-Asiman block and others outlined above, would also help Azerbaijan to make fuller use of its $8.5 billion TANAP (Trans-Anatolian Pipeline) which currently has excess capacity of around 50 percent. 

On another positive note, the new exploration and drilling activity from BP will also likely see an increase in demand for technical and engineering professionals across Azerbaijan. As we always say here at EngineeringPro- with growth, comes jobs!

If you want to work in Azerbaijan’s growing oil industry register with Fircroft

From our dedicated office in Baku, Fircroft recruits technical and engineering professionals to work on Azerbaijan’s leading oil, gas and energy projects. Explore our current vacancies now and apply today.
Tags: Oil & Gas
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BP outlines plans for extensive Caspian Sea drilling programme - Time to read 4 min
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