First oil field discovered during independence

First oil field discovered during independence

12 August 2020, 11:20 163

The commissioning of the Karabakh field will make a significant contribution to the more successful implementation of Azerbaijan's oil strategy and increase the country's revenues


The Garabakh prospective structure was identified in 1959 as a result of seismic surveys. It was specified in 1984 and its oil and gas reserves were confirmed in 1997-1998 through exploration drilling. The oilfield is located 120 km east of Baku, at a depth of 150-200 meters in the open sea. In May 2018, SOCAR Garabakh and Equinor signed a Risk Service Agreement related to development of Garabakh Oil Field in the Azerbaijan Sector of Caspian Sea. According to the agreement, they hold equal shares. Drilling of the first appraisal well at Garabakh oil field was started on December 23, 2019. On March 19, 2020, SOCAR and Equinor confirmed a discovery of Garabakh field located 120 kilometers offshore. Its oil reserves estimated more than 60 million tons.


It is planned to drill 6 oil, 3 gas and 3 water wells in the field. On August 10, a jacket of Garabakh field was sent offshore at the ceremony at Baku Deep Water Jackets Plant named after Heydar Aliyev. The support block is designed in the form of a grid-type metal structure to support the upper part of the stationary seabed and the deck to be installed in the Karabakh field. This block will be installed at a depth of 182 meters. The installation of the support block will play a major role in oil and gas production in the deep layers of the Karabakh field. The height of the structure loaded on the STB-1 cargo barge is 187 meters and the total weight is 16,000 tons. The construction of the block took two years.


Logistics supply for international companies

This support block is the largest underwater structure in the history of SOCAR, both in terms of size and weight. One of the important factors in the design process is the participation of local experts. Thus, the Karabakh support block was built by SOCAR's BOS Shelf at the Baku Deep Water Jackets Plant named after Heydar Aliyev. During the implementation of the project, BOS Shelf achieved an accident-free rate of 3.2 million people / hour in full compliance with the rules of health, safety and environmental protection. 95% of the human resources involved in the project were local workers. BOS Shelf is one of the key players in the implementation of all large-scale and complex oil and gas projects in Azerbaijan, including Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli, Shah Deniz-2, Absheron and others. In addition to major construction and installation projects, the company successfully modernizes drilling rigs, ships and transport barges, as well as manages the logistics supply bases for international companies.

The fields will be successfully exploited


Moreover, the Karabakh field is one of the richest hydrocarbon fields in Azerbaijan. The commissioning of this field will make a significant contribution to the more successful implementation of Azerbaijan's oil strategy and increase the country's oil revenues.


Attending the ceremony at Baku Deep Water Jackets Plant named after Heydar Aliyev to send a jacket of Garabakh field offshore, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to Azerbaijan Television.


"This is a very important event. Offshore work on the Garabagh field begins today,” said the head of state.


"As a result of the implementation of Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy in the 1990s, a production sharing agreement was signed. Three wells were drilled in this field in the 1990s. However, our foreign partners did not believe in the viability of the Garabagh field, the contract was terminated and the Garabagh field was abandoned. However, our experts were convinced that this field had great potential and life has proved them right. The fourth well drilled this year proved productive and the field was thus fully discovered,” he said.


"I should also say that this is the first oil field to be discovered in Azerbaijan in the period of independence because the Azeri, Chirag and Gunashli fields were discovered in Soviet times. Shah Deniz and Absheron are gas condensate fields. So this is the first oil field, and this giant jacket is the biggest jacket ever built in the Caspian Sea. Therefore, we can talk about the significance of this project for a long time. Of course, this is a result of our successful policy because even though foreign oil companies have been making major investments in Azerbaijan since 1994, the interest of foreign investors in the oil and gas industry, in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas potential is showing no sign of abating. In fact, it is still growing. I am confident that Garabagh and other fields will be successfully operated and bring great benefits to our country in the coming years,” noted the President.


The most modern technologies in the oil industry

Aydin Huseynov, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship, told Kaspi that the launch of the Baku Deep Water Jackets Plant named after Heydar Aliyev is a new important event in Azerbaijan's oil and gas industry. "At a time when the pandemic is widespread in the world and investment in the oil and gas industry is declining in most countries, the launch of such a project in the energy sector of Azerbaijan can be considered an example of successful energy policy. This shows that new explorations and investment plans continue in the sector. The launch of offshore work on the Karabakh field, which has a special place in the oil industry, means the start of a new phase in oil production. This field is a rich source of energy such as Azeri, Chirag, Gunashli, Shah Deniz, Absheron and other structures. Another important feature of this support block, named after our native Karabakh, is that Azerbaijan already provides the most modern technologies, equipment in the oil industry, equipment used in all production and installation areas at sea and on land at the expense of local production. The resources produced from this field will play an important role in Europe's energy supply and will greatly contribute to the growth of our country's oil revenues," he said.


Stable oil production and increased gas production

According to oil and gas expert Firdovsi Agayev, the start of offshore work on the Karabakh field had geopolitical and economic significance. "After the launch of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), many sources that were against Azerbaijan claimed that our country would not have enough production capacity to fill this gas pipeline. However, the rapid delivery of the Shah Deniz gas field to the planned level proved that these claims were unfounded. At present, Turkey is leading Azerbaijan in gas exports. Gas is not pumped because one of the "Turkish Stream" and "South Stream" lines from Russia is out of repair, and the other is not profitable. In this case, Turkey prefers Azerbaijani gas and compressed liquefied gas. The commissioning of the Absheron and Karabakh gas condensate fields is a condition for Azerbaijan to continue exporting gas supplied with CGD. The oil potential of the Karabakh field is estimated at 60 million tons. However, these figures will change after the first production well is drilled and put into operation. The Karabakh field is located near the Azeri, Chirag, and Gunashli fields, and both gas and oil potential is expected to be higher after exploration. The reserves in the Karabakh oil field will greatly support the country's oil production. The field is expected to produce at least 1.5 million tons of oil and 1.5-1.8 billion cubic meters of gas a year. It will be of great benefit to keep oil production stable and increase gas production in Azerbaijan,” the expert emphasized.