Ilham Shaban: 2017 marked by surge of interest in Azerbaijan's energy sector
The outgoing year was a time of increasing international interest in Azerbaijan's energy projects, the head of the 'Caspian Barrel' Center for Oil Research Ilham Shaban told Vestnik Kavkaza, summing up the results of 2017 for the Azerbaijani energy sector.
First of all, he recalled the date of September 14, 2017, when the "Contract of the Century" for the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) block of oil and gas fields was extended. "This is the most memorable date of the year for our energy industry. The contract signed on that day opens a new era in Azerbaijan's oil and gas industry. The extension of this contract for another 32 years indicates that the partners of Azerbaijan believe in the republic, in its stability and continue to choose the development of the giant Caspian field as one of the key areas of work. Even with the strengthening of Azerbaijan's positions in the renewed contract, they agreed to cooperate," the expert pointed out.
Ilham Shaban named another important day of 2017 for the Azerbaijani energy sector - December 22 - the day of signing the presidential decree on the reforms of the energy sector.
In general, according to his estimate, 2017 was quite eventful for Azerbaijan. "Despite the fact that there was a period of relatively low oil prices, foreign companies showed interest in Azerbaijan's oil and gas projects. In particular, a contract was signed with Statoil on the development of the Karabakh offshore oil and gas field in the Caspian Sea. In addition, BP is successfully carries out studies in the shallow water area of the Caspian Sea, and they also hope to sign an agreement with Azerbaijan in 2018," the head of the 'Caspian Barrel' Center for Oil Research drew attention.
An important event of the future will be the completion of the implementation of the large-scale and most capital-intensive project of Azerbaijan in the new oil and gas era - the launch of the Southern Gas Corridor and Shah Deniz-2. "They will be launched in the middle of 2018, testing of the TANAP pipeline will start in the first quarter. Shah Deniz-2 will produce first gas in late June-early July, which means that in the next few years in Azerbaijan there will be a new investment inflow in the oil and gas industry," Ilham Shaban predicts.
"Two large projects will start next year: Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli-2 and Absheron, where the start of production is scheduled for 2021. Highly skilled labor will receive new jobs for the next 4 years within these two projects, which, for sure, will be followed by others," the expert concluded.