Big find in Azerbaijan

July 12, 1999, 18:15 CEST

A significant gas and condensate discovery has been made in the Shah Deniz area of the Caspian Sea. BP Amoco is operator of Shah Deniz with Statoil as a partner.

The SDX 1 well is the first to have been drilled by the Shah Deniz partners. The Shah Deniz licence stretches over an area of 820 square kilometres. The well was drilled down to a depth of 6,316 metres and encountered gas and condensate in three separate horizons, the lowest of which has been tested. On the test, gas and condensate flowed at a rate of 1,416 million cubic per day and 2,965 barrels per day respectively.

"The find will form the basis for continued efforts to develop the country's gas industry," says Inge-Leif Rylandsholm, acting manager of Statoil's operations in Azerbaijan. He adds that Statoil established a special gas team in 1996 and since then has carried out studies to prepare Azerbaijan for finds of this type.

"Statoil will therefore be able to play an important role, also in the light of its background as the largest operator of gas fields and process and pipeline systems in the North Sea," says Mr Rylandsholm.

The second well on the Shah Deniz structure, SDX 2, which is six kilometres to the south of SDX 1, started drilling on 6 May with the rig Istiglal. Plans call for drilling to be completed by the middle of October.

This well should provide more information about the rest of the structure.

Statoil and BP Amoco each have a 25.5 per cent share in Shah Deniz.

Other partners are Azerbaijan's state oil company Socar, French Elf Aquitaine, Russian/Italian LukAgip, OIEC of Iran and Turkish state oil company TPAO.