French supermajor Total has announced a “major natural non-associated gas find in the Absheron block of the Azeri Caspian Sea.
In a statement the company revealed that initial test results from the Absheron-X2 well’s first results confirm a potential of several trillion cubic feet of gas and associated condensates.
The discovery increases the likelihood of adequate feedstock for the giant Nabucco pipeline, a proposed 31-billion cubic feet per year gas supply line linking the Caspian to Austria by traversing the heart of Turkey which was formally proposed in 2002. The pipeline aims to dramatically reduce Europe’s depenency on Russia as a supplier of natural gas.
Despite political backing for the project, there have been difficulties in securing official agreements from supplier nations, notably Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani state-backed oil company SOCAR is scheduled to throw in its casting vote on how to market the gas from the country’s mammoth BP-operated trillion cubic meter Shah Deniz II offshore gas field by the end of the year, and a dramatic increase in resources from Total’s discovery increases the chances that SOCAR will agree to commit the large volumes required to make the Nabucco pipeline economically feasible.
“This discovery could be very significant in terms of resources,” said Total’s Senior Vice President Exploration, Marc Blaizot. “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.”
The well is currently at a depth of approximately 6,550 metres. Drilling will continue to explore further deeper objectives that look attractive. The well will then be tested to better confirm the reservoir potential.
The Absheron discovery is located in 500 metres of water, 100 kilometres south east of Baku, some 25 kilometres north east of the Shah Deniz gas and condensate field.
Total subsidiary, Total EP Absheron is the operator of the Absheron license with a 40% equity. The partners are SOCAR (40%) and GDF SUEZ (20%).