Equinor and eight partners in the offshore Azeri Chirag Gunashli (ACG) oilfield in the Caspian Sea have made a USD 6 billion investment decision to build an additional platform in the license area.
The investment decision follows an agreement with the Government of Azerbaijan to extend the life of the ACG field until 2049.
The new platform, called ACE (Azeri-Central-East), will be integrated with existing infrastructure. It is designed to process up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day and expected to produce up to 300 million barrels over its lifetime. Equinor holds a 7.27% share in the oilfield and first oil is expected in 2023.
“Equinor has been creating significant value in Azerbaijan over many years, and we are excited to reach this milestone. Together with operator BP we are eager to contribute to safe operations that will provide cash flow to Equinor for many years,” says Torgrim Reitan, Executive vice president for Development & Production International (DPI) in Equinor.
The main objectives of the platform are to add drilling capacity to both accelerate production and increase recovery and reduce risk. In addition, the platform provides flexibility for hosting future developments in ACG. In a departure from previous projects, the drilling facilities will be fabricated entirely in Azerbaijan alongside the topsides to leverage the track record and skillset built in the Caspian.
In addition to the ACG ACE decision Equinor is pursuing other opportunities in Azerbaijan. Equinor and partner SOCAR are planning to drill an appraisal well later this year in the Karabagh license, a discovery from 2000. Following the drilling in Karabagh, the plan is to drill the Aypara exploration well in the Ashrafi, Dan Ulduzu, Aypara licence.
“Equinor had an average daily equity production of 854,000 barrels per day outside Norway in the fourth quarter of 2018. We want to grow internationally, take on more operatorships and seek growth options. Azerbaijan is an important country for Equinor and over the last few years we have been able to develop new growth opportunities in the region. The decision to add one platform to the ACG field is contributing to Equinor’s international strategy,” says Reitan.
ACG currently has eight offshore platforms – six production platforms and two process, gas compression, water injection and utilities platforms. The platforms export oil and gas to the Sangachal Terminal, one of the world’s largest oil and gas terminals, onshore near Baku. In 2018, total production from ACG averaged 584,000 barrels per day, of which Equinor has an equity production of approximately 43,000 barrels per day.
Equinor has been in Azerbaijan since 1992.
ACG participating interests are BP (30.37%), SOCAR (25.0%), Chevron (9.57%), INPEX (9.31%), Equinor (7.27%), ExxonMobil (6.79%), TPAO (5.73%), ITOCHU (3.65%), ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) (2.31%).