BP spuds first exploration well on Shafag-Asiman block off Azerbaijan

Oil and gas major BP has spudded the first exploration well on the Shafag-Asiman offshore block located in Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea.

Heydar Aliyev drilling rig; Source: BP

BP said on Wednesday that the well was spud on January 13, 2020. BP is the operator and holds a 50% interest in the Shafag-Asiman production sharing agreement (PSA) with partner Socar holding a 50% interest. The block lies some 125 kilometers to the South-East of Baku. It covers an area of some 1,100 square kilometers. It is located in water depths of 650-800 meters.

The SAX01 well is the first to be drilled in the contract area and is in accordance with BP’s obligations under the PSA that was ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament in 2011, BP said.

The well is planned to reach total depth of up to 7,000 meters, which is expected to take around nine months. Following this, the well data will be analysed and, if successful, an evaluation program may be conducted to confirm the results.

The well is being drilled from the Heydar Aliyev semi-submersible rig operated by the Caspian Drilling Company (CDC). The rig, which has full managed-pressure drilling capability, was contracted for the SAX01 well in November 2019 and then moved to the well location in preparation for the beginning of drilling operations.

Rovnag Abdullayev, president of SOCAR, said: “A while back, we have successfully completed seismic study in the Shafag-Asiman block with our partner BP. Now we are embarking on the next step, and starting to drill an exploration well. The exploration drilling will allow to fully uncover the block’s potential.”

Gary Jones, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said: “We are excited and proud to be embarking on this first exploration well on Shafag-Asiman – a structure which has significant potential for a large-scale gas discovery. A great deal of preparation has been made to assure a safe and robust drilling program.”

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