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Socar Says Oil Output at BP-Led Azeri Field Recovers From Slump

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan said production from the BP Plc-led Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field was unchanged in January from a year earlier, indicating that output has recovered from a dip during 2012.

“The ACG field produced the same volume of oil in January compared with year ago, thus stemming the drop in output,” Rovnaq Abdullayev, president of the oil company known as Socar, said today in Baku.

Volumes from the ACG field, which accounted for 78 percent of the country’s production in 2011, fell 12 percent in the first half of last year. BP replaced regional managers after President Ilham Aliyev accused it of making mistakes.

BP and its partners, which also include Statoil ASA and Chevron Corp., have sought to extend their production-sharing accord beyond 2024 to allow them to recoup investments. Socar, keen to develop the field on its own after the contract expires, said today that an extension was “not on the agenda.”

BP and Socar are also partners at the Shah Deniz gas field off the Azeri coast, which is scheduled to pump its first fuel in 2018. A final investment decision on developing the deposit, which may send 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe that year, will be made at the end of 2013, Abdullayev said today.

BP’s other partners at Shah Deniz include Statoil, Total SA, OAO Lukoil, Turkiye Petrolleri AO and Naftiran Intertrade Co. Azerbaijan is the third-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union, after Russia and Kazakhstan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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