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Caspian well continues

December 17, 1998, 00:50 CET

The first exploration well on Shah Deniz in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian was re-entered on 16 December by the Istiglal drilling rig.

Previously named Shelf 5, the semi-submersible will be extending the SDX-1 well originally spudded by Dada Gorgud in the summer and drilled to a depth of 2,500 metres.

Istiglal was delivered to Shah Deniz operator BP on 14 December, following a lengthy period of testing for the rig after conversion work at the Kaspmornefteflot yard outside Baku in Azerbaijan.

"We'll be drilling to a depth of roughly 6,200 metres," reports Torulf Gjedrem, operations manager for the Shah Deniz project. "Plans call for drilling and logging to be concluded during March."

Statoil has a 25.5 per cent interest in Shah Deniz.