Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR)and the French companies Elf-Aquitaine and Total have signed a contract to develop Azerbaijan’s Lenkoran-Deniz and Talysh-Deniz offshore oil fields. The investment, projected at $2 billion, involves two deposits estimated to contain 80 to 100 million tons of oil at depths ranging from 20 to 100 meters under water, in a 420 square kilometer area located in the southern part of Azerbaijan’s Caspian continental shelf. Elf Aquitaine as project operator holds a 65 percent stake in the project, with SOCAR holding 25 percent and Total 10 percent. The three partners are entitled to sell by mutual consent portions of their shares to others, and the U.S. company Mobil Oil is a leading candidate. The Western partners are financing Azerbaijan’s share in the project. (Turan, Western agencies, International Petroleum Agency, January 13-14)
Presidents Jacques Chirac and Haidar Aliev witnessed the signing during Aliev’s current official visit to France. The agreement is the fifth in the series of Azerbaijan’s large-scale oil contracts with Western companies. Elf-Aquitaine is already involved with other Western partners in developing the Shah-Deniz oil field.
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