PARIS, September 9 (Itar-Tass) —— France’s Total company has explored a large gas field at the Caspian Sea shelf part belonging to Azerbaijan, the company said in a report on Friday, adding that the new field is located 100 kilometres southeast of Baku.
The field’s gas reserves are estimated at “many trillions of cubic feet [one cubic feet equals 0.0283 cubic metres],” the report said. The exploration was made at the promising block of Absheron, which is located at a depth of about 500 metres.
According to the Total’s report, an exploration drilling showed that a 160-metre-high gas column is located in a sandstone formation on the northern slope of a large gas field with a total area of about 270 square metres.
Chairman of Total’s Exploration Division Marc Blaizot considers this exploration as a very considerable from the viewpoint of resources.
In his words, “It is the result of Total’s bolder exploration strategy aimed at exploring high risk-high reward prospects both in prolific and frontier basins particularly in high pressure, deeply buried reservoirs. Our geoscientists and drillers have all the skills to make other discoveries in similar environments like the United Kingdom, Brunei, Malaysia or Egypt where new permits have been recently awarded to Total.”
Late in February 2009, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) signed an agreement with Total on geological surveys and development of the Absheron block at the Caspian Sea shelf.
Under the contract, a 60-percent stake belonged to Total, and a 40-percent stake – to SOCAR. At the same time, later another French utility GDF Suez purchased 20 percent from Total’s stake in the project. Therefore, now Total and SOCAR hold equal stakes in the project.
In Azerbaidjan, Total has been present since 1996. In the country, the group’s equity production reached 13,000 barrels equivalent of oil per day in 2010 from the Shah Deniz field in which Total holds a 10-percent stake.
Total holds a 10-percent interest in South Caucasus Pipeline Company, owner of the SCP (South Caucasus Pipeline) gas pipeline that transports the gas produced in Shah Deniz to the Turkish and Georgian markets. Total also holds a 5-percent interest in BTC company, owner of the BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) oil pipeline, which connects Baku and the Mediterranean Sea.