BP signs Caspian Sea gas deal with Azerbaijan

7th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

British oil giant BP said Thursday it had signed a 30-year deal with Azerbaijan's state company Socar for joint exploration and production of a major Caspian Sea gas field, but gave no financial details.

"BP and Socar announced today they had signed a new production sharing agreement on joint exploration and development of the Shafag-Asiman structure in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea," they said in a joint statement.

The Shafag-Asiman block is situated 125 kilometres (78 miles) southeast of Baku, and covers an area of around 1,100 square kilometres that has never been explored before.

The deal was signed in Baku on Thursday by Socar president Rovnag Abdullayev and BP Azerbaijan president Rashid Javanshir, in the presence of BP chief executive Bob Dudley.

Under the terms of the venture, which will last for 30 years, BP will be the operator with a 50-percent stake, while Socar will have the remaining equity.

The Azerbaijan agreement is the first deal signed by Dudley, who took the helm earlier this month after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster forced out his predecessor Tony Hayward.

"This is an important day for Azerbaijan and BP as it marks the beginning of our bilateral cooperation in exploration and development of a new offshore block," Dudley said in the statement.

"With Socar and our partners, BP has helped to establish Azerbaijan as a world scale oil and gas producer, and I believe the significant remaining potential will continue to make it relevant for decades to come.

"We in BP very much hope that the combination of our leading technology and expertise with Azerbaijan's experience and potential will lead to new discoveries in the Caspian," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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