Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 141

President Haidar Aliev’s current visit to Britain has resulted in the signing of three big oil contracts between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and international partners, totaling a multibillion sum.

1. Abikh bloc. The partners are SOCAR, British Petroleum and Norway’s Statoil, with stakes of 40 percent, 15 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The remaining 30 percent are to be allocated shortly. British Petroleum is the project operator. The investment is worth at least US$4 billion over the twenty-five-year term of the contract. Situated in the central-southern part of Azerbaijan’s Caspian sector, Abikh is composed of the distinct fields Alov, Araz and Sharg, with estimated recoverable reserves of 500 million tons of oil. The sea depth ranges from 300 to 800 meters and the drilling depths range from 2,000 to 6,000 meters.

2. Inam field. The contract finalizes a preliminary agreement which had been signed during Aliev’s 1997 visit to the United States. The consortium is comprised of SOCAR, the U.S. company AMOCO, Britain’s Monument Oil and Moscow’s Central Fuel Company, with shares of 50 percent, 25 percent, 12.5 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. AMOCO is the project operator. The investment is valued at US$2 billion for the twenty-five-year contract period. Situated some 30 kilometers offshore, at a sea depth ranging from 30 to 300 meters, Inam is estimated to contain at least 100 million tons of oil.

3. Muradkhanly bloc. This is an on-shore bloc, to be rehabilitated and further developed under an agreement between SOCAR and the Scottish-based RAMCO Energy with a 50 percent interest each. Comprised of the fields Muradkhanly proper, Jafarly, and Zardab, the bloc contains estimated recoverable reserves of at least 100 million tons of oil just in Muradkhanly proper. The value of the investment is at least US$1 billion. (International agencies, M2 Communications, July 22)