On December 25 the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and a Japanese consortium signed a production-sharing agreement to rehabilitate and work over three oilfields in the south of Azerbaijan. The Atashgiakh, Yanan-Tava and Mugan-Deniz fields hold recoverable reserves estimated at 75 to 90 million tons of oil. The value of the investment is US$2.3 billion contract over a twenty-five-year period. The Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (Japex) is the project operator, and the Itochu company is a partner in the consortium of four Japanese companies. The contract boosts the Japanese presence in Azerbaijani oil projects, in which Itochu had opened the way for Japan in 1996. This latest deal is Azerbaijan’s sixteenth multinational oil project (Reuters, Turan, December 25).
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