BP and partners have sanctioned the Azeri Central East (ACE) project in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.
ACE is the next stage of development of the giant Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) oilfield complex.
The £4.6 billion development includes a new offshore platform and facilities designed to process up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
The project is expected to achieve first production in 2023 and produce up to 300 million barrels over its lifetime.
The sanction is the first major investment decision by the ACG partnership since the extension of the ACG production sharing agreement (PSA) to 2049 was agreed in 2017.
More than $36 billion has been invested into the development of the ACG area since the original PSA was signed in 1994.
Rovnaq Abdullayev, president of SOCAR, said: “Today’s sanctioning marks yet another important milestone in the development of ACG for the benefit of the nation, which began 25 years ago with the signing of the Contract of the Century.
“For decades, SOCAR has been reinvesting Azerbaijan’s oil revenues in the development of a highly-qualified workforce and modern industrial facilities in our country.
“Today we have world-class factories, production and installation complexes, marine vessels and a highly-skilled local workforce, which have created opportunity for the construction and installation of the ACE platform by Azerbaijani specialists throughout the country.
“Looking forward, we expect more than three billion barrels of additional oil production from ACG. This strategic decision supports Azerbaijan’s increasing role as an energy supplier for the regional and global markets.”
BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “Working together over the past 25 years, this remarkable partnership has turned these world-class assets into tremendous benefits for the people of Azerbaijan. The ACE extension builds on that legacy and helps ensure that the next quarter century will be just as bright.”
Gary Jones, BP’s regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, added: “Today’s announcement supports the long-term production plans we set for ACG when we extended the PSA. It demonstrates our commitment to work with SOCAR and Azerbaijan’s government to continue to unlock ACG’s resources more efficiently and competitively.”
BP has a 30.37% stake in and operates the ACG PSA. Partners include SOCAR/AzACG (25%), Chevron (9.57%), INPEX (9.31%), Equinor (7.27%), ExxonMobil (6.79%), TPAO (5.73%), ITOCHU (3.65%) and ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) (2.31%).