BP has announced the start of gas production under the second phase of the Shah Deniz offshore project in Azerbaijan’s deep-water sector of the Caspian Sea, with the UK supermajor also resuming plans to start long-discussed shallow water exploration drilling in the country.

According to BP, gas has started to flow at the East South flank of the Shah Deniz field at the rate of 11.3 million cubic metres per day, following the commissioning of four development wells and related tie-ins to existing infrastructure.

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Two new flowlines and related subsea structures were also installed at a water depth of about 540 metres, BP has added.

The company expects the East South flank to reach its full production plateau during the third quarter of this year, marking a major milestone in the second phase of the project that was started in 2018.

Gas and condensate production at the asset was started in 2006 by a BP-led consortium that included Turkey’s TPAO, Malaysia’s Petronas, Russia’s Lukoil, Iran’s Naftiran Intertrade and Azeri Socar and Southern Gas Corridor Upstream.

BP said that the Shah Deniz project is currently producing at the rate of about 58,000 MMcmd and 85,000 bpd of condensate, making it the country's top gas producer.

Work is continuing to bring into production other flanks of the field under the second phase of development.

BP expects the second phase to add a total of 44 billion cubic metres of gas per day to the Shah Deniz output at its plateau production rate.

Shallow water drilling

According to its updated environmental impact assessment study, the supermajor has also resumed earlier plans to spud three shallow water exploration wells within so-called Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula Project in Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea waters.

Drilling of the first well under the project — North Khali NKX01, in the North East Prospective Area — is now expected to begin in August, against an earlier intention to start the well in the first quarter.

The job will be conducted using the Kazakhstan-built and owned jack-up rig Satti that has been leased to Caspian Drilling Company, a subsidiary of state oil company Socar.

Construction of Satti continued at two yards in Kazakhstan between 2015 and 2019, with the unit later towed to Azerbaijan for further upgrades.

Two more wells — Qarabatdag QBDX01 in the South East prospective area and Bibiheybat BHEX01 on the West prospective area — are due to follow, using the Satti.

BP signed the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula production sharing agreement in 2014, with the document covering the total offshore area of about 1900 square kilometres.

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