On December 18 the Milli Mejlis–an international consortium–ratified a twenty-five-year contract, worth an estimated US$9 billion, for exploring and developing Azerbaijan’s Alov, Araz and Sharg offshore oilfields. The value of this contract is second only to the 1994 “deal of the century” for the Chirag-Azeri-Guneshli offshore fields, whose value is now estimated at US$10 billion or more. The contract is Azerbaijan’s fourteenth with foreign oil companies.
Signed during President Haidar Aliev’s visit to London last July, the agreements on Alov, Araz and Sharg were subsequently unified into one contract. The three fields are situated some 120 to 130 kilometers southeast of Baku, occupying an area of some 1,400 square kilometers, at sea depths ranging from 350 to 700 meters and at drilling depths of 5,000 to 6,000 meters. The reserves are preliminarily estimated at some 300 million tons of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of gas. The consortium is made up of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company, British Petroleum, Norway’s Statoil and Turkish Petroleum, with stakes of 40 percent, 15 percent, 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Four other companies–Exxon of the United States, Total and Elf-Aquitaine of France, and Petrobras of Brazil–are contending for the remaining 20 percent interest (Assa-Irada, Turan, AFP, December 18).
COMMUNIST PARTY DOWN AND OUT IN TAJIKISTAN.