West Azeri production begins off Azerbaijan

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 6 -- BP Group LLC, operator of the 10-company consortium Azerbaijan International Operating Co., began oil production Dec. 30 from West Azeri (WA) field, part of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) complex in the Caspian Sea off Azerbaijan.

Giant ACG, 100 km east of Baku, has reserves of 5.4 billion bbl of oil and is planned as a 30-year development and production project (OGJ Online, Sept. 24, 2004).

WA production began from the first of three predrilled wells in 118 m of water. Production rates are expected to increase through 2006 as other predrilled wells come on stream. More drilling is expected later this year.

Plateau production from WA is expected to be 300,000 b/d in addition to the expected plateau production of 340,000 b/d from Central Azeri (CA; OGJ Online, Feb. 15, 2005).

The WA facilities include a 48-slot production, drilling, and quarters (PDQ) platform and a 30-in. oil pipeline tie-in to the expanded onshore Sangachal terminal.

Associated gas from WA will flow via subsea pipelines to a CA compression and water injection platform for reinjection into the reservoir for pressure maintenance or to be used as fuel. Surplus gas will be exported via subsea pipeline to the Sangachal terminal and onward via a new pipeline for Azeri use.

ACG development phases
ACG is being developed in several phases. Chirag has been producing since 1997, followed by Phase I of Azeri in early 2005 and the current start-up of WA. Production from East Azeri is scheduled to come on stream in 2007 (OGJ Online, Sept. 18, 2002).

ACG Phase III involves development of deepwater Gunashli field, already sanctioned and expected to begin production in 2008. Plateau producton in 2009 is expected to surpass 1.1 million b/d.

BP holds 34.1% of the consortium. Other participants are Unocal Corp. 10.3%, State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) 10%, Tokyo-based Inpex Corp. 10%, Statoil ASA 8.6%, ExxonMobil Corp. 8%, Turkish Oil Corp. (TPAO) 6.8%, Devon Energy Corp. 5.6%, Japan's Itochu Corp. 3.9%, and Amerada Hess Corp. 2.7%.

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