Government to approve ESIA on exploratory drilling at Shafag-Asiman block

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BP will soon start drilling operations at the Shafag-Asiman structure in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, where gas reserves may be equal to those of the Shah Deniz 2 field. 

Azerbaijani government will approve the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on exploratory well drilling in the prospective Shafag-Asiman offshore block in October, said Tamam Bayatli, head of the BP-Azerbaijan press service, at the ESIA exploratory drilling presentation.

“After the document is approved, drilling of the SAX01 exploratory well will begin by late 2019,” said Bayatli.

She noted that its location was determined following a seismic survey.

BP plans to begin drilling in the fourth quarter of 2019 using the Heydar Aliyev semi-submersible floating drilling rig operated by Caspian Drilling Company. The depth of the sea in the area of drilling the SAX01 well is 624 meters.

The operations, including well testing, will take 604 days. The first stage of drilling includes drilling and conservation of the well, and the second – its testing and liquidation.

BP suggests that the break between the two stages can last 1-3 years, depending on the availability of the rig for testing at the well.

The main goal is to evaluate gas reserves in three productive reservoirs for the subsequent development of the Shafag-Asiman contract area.

The Shafag-Asiman block lies some 125 kilometers to the South-East of Baku. It covers an area of some 1,100 square kilometers.  The sea depth in the area of the Shafag-Asiman contract area is 600-800 meters, the depth of the oil deposits is 6-7 kilometers. According to the primary geological studies on this structure, there are reservoirs with hydrocarbon potential.

The seismic surveys were conducted here twice, including two-dimensional seismic exploration (2D) between 1995 and 1999 and 3D seismic in 2012 to study the geological structure of the contract area and determine the characteristics of potential reservoirs.

Earlier, BP said that Azerbaijan’s fields such as Shafag-Asiman and Umid-Babek can be used to expand Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), which envisages the transportation of Shah Deniz gas to Europe.

The forecast reserves of the Shafag-Asiman block stand at 500 billion cubic meters of gas and 65 million tons of condensate.

SOCAR and BP signed a contract on the Shafag-Asiman block of fields for a period of 30 years in October 2010. The exploration period is four years with possibility of extension for three more years. Two wells are to be drilled within the first phase. Two more wells will be drilled within the second phase, if necessary. Shared participation in the contract between BP and SOCAR is 50/50 percent.