The multinational Caspian International Petroleum Company (CIPCO), a consortium led by the U.S. company Pennzoil, has struck oil at the depth of 3,150 meters while drilling a third exploratory well at Azerbaijan’s offshore “Karabakh” field. Drilling will continue for a further 300 meters, probably turning up more oil. CIPCO had been on the verge of terminating the project after the first two exploratory wells failed to strike oil. The contract provided for the drilling of three exploratory wells, and Azerbaijan insisted that the third be drilled. Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company is said to have disagreed with the choice of the first two locations and to have recommended the third (Journal of Commerce, October 26).
CIPCO’s initial failure became an argument in the hands of opponents of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, who maintained that there was not enough oil available to justify the construction. The successful strike comes on the eve of the October 29 summit meeting in Ankara, where a political statement of strong support for Baku-Ceyhan is expected to be issued.
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