Go-ahead for next ACG phase

September 20, 2004, 15:00 CEST

The third and final stage in developing the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) oil field in the Caspian, where Statoil holds an 8.56 per cent stake, has been approved by the Azerbaijan government.

Embracing the deepwater Gunashli reservoir, this phase of the BP-operated development is due to come on stream in 2008.

Its official go-ahead was announced in Baku today, 20 September, during the 10th anniversary celebration for the ACG production sharing agreement.

This deal was the first of its kind to be concluded between foreign companies and one of the former Soviet republics.

A new platform is scheduled to begin producing every year until 2008 on the massive field, which is estimated to contain 15 billion barrels of stock tank oil originally in place.

Recoverable reserves are put at 5.4 billion barrels, which compares with an original estimate of four billion barrels for Statoil’s Statfjord field in the North Sea.

Early production from Chirag began in 1997, before work started on phase one. The latter embraces a production unit plus a compression/water injection platform on Central Azeri.

Plans call for output from this stage to start travelling by pipeline during January to an enlarged Sangachal terminal on land in Azerbaijan.

Phase two covers Azeri West and East, which will be developed with a platform apiece. The western side is due to come on stream in 2006, followed by the eastern development in 2007.

The ACG field should reach plateau production of more than a million barrels of oil per day in 2009.

“Looking at ways of improving the recovery factor will be the main activity next year,” says project manager Andrew Sanderson in Statoil’s International Exploration & Production business area.

He is very pleased with the results achieved by BP in the health, safety and environmental sector.

“Injury statistics have shown a sharply improving curve since the foreign companies became involved in the early 1990s,” he observes.