BP is spending big money in the Caspian Sea. When the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field is in full swing, the company will spend $2 million/day drilling and will have up to eight rigs running at any time offshore Azerbaijan, according to BP's George Siler, vice president for ACG phase three full field development.
Siler and others presented their views on working in the Caspian Sea at the Caspian Basin Energy Conference Jan. 9 in New Orleans. Representatives from the US State Department joined oil and gas industry participants to discuss the pitfalls of working in countries that emerged at the dissolution of the Soviet Union and to offer advice to US companies looking to enter these countries. The federal government is promoting investment in the oil and gas industry in the region as part of its new energy policy, which focuses on securing sources outside the Middle East.
Siler addressed issues such as meeting local content quotas, one place where BP has made significant headway. "We're ahead of the curve," Siler said, an achievement he attributed in part to the "very high level of competency" of the Azeris.
According to Siler, BP has very firm development plans for ACG. The company will move forward irrespective of political upset in the region, which could include a US/Iraqi war. Even in this dire case, "the project won't be pulled," Siler said.
With reliable logistics for transporting materials, highly competent local personnel, and the potential for tremendous hydrocarbon recover, Azerbaijan will continue to be an area that receives BP development dollars. As the country becomes known as a viable region for investment, many other US companies are likely to put down roots as well.