ExxonMobil Will Drill 2nd Well Offshore Azerbaijan

ExxonMobil Corp said it will drill a second exploratory well in Azerbaijan's offshore Nakhchivan field despite failing to find commercial reserves with its first well. Earlier this month the company said it would surrender its production sharing agreement for the Oguz field with Socar without drilling the second well.

Though no date has been set, drilling on the second well on the Nakchivan field will start once a new rig, currently under construction, is completed around the end of 2003, an Exxon spokeswoman said. "We do plan to drill a second well (on the Nakhchivan structure) with the new DSS-20 semi-submersible rig Maersk Contractors is constructing and that rig is supposed to be ready some time in late 2003," said the spokeswoman. The Exxon spokeswoman added that the new rig would also be used to drill a first exploratory well on the Zafar-Mashal structure, another oil prospect in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea which Exxon is licensed to operate.

In the last 12 months, TotalFinaElf and Eni Agip have abandoned exploratory drilling projects in Azerbaijan early because of dry wells, while ChevronTexaco has also had drilling setbacks.


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