BP Jan-Sept Oil Output at Azeri Fields Dips on Platform Maintenance

BAKU, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Oil output from BP-led oilfields in Azerbaijan in the first three quarters of 2015 dipped compared with a year earlier, BP-Azerbaijan said on Monday, due to platform maintenance earlier this year.

Daily oil output at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oilfields, which account for most of Azerbaijan's production, was an average 640,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared with 655,700 bpd in the same period last year and 641,000 bpd in the first half of this year.

BP suspended operations at one platform in the Caspian Sea, West Azeri, for planned maintenance on May 21 for 22 days. It suspended operations at another platform, Chirag, also for planned maintenance, on Nov. 10 for 25 days.

BP said on Monday ACG operating expenditure was around $570 million and capital expenditure was $1.5 billion in the first nine months of this year.

Azerbaijan said total crude oil and condensate production fell 2 percent year on year to 35 million tonnes in the first 10 months of this year.

Falling output at the ACG oilfields has been a cause of concern in Baku. Total oil output rose in 2013 for the first time since 2011, but the decline resumed in 2014.

Natural gas output from the Shah Deniz offshore field dipped to 7.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) in January-September from 7.25 bcm in the same period of 2014.

It produced 1.66 million tonnes of condensate.

BP suspended operations on the Shah Deniz platform in the Caspian Sea as well as the Shah Deniz facility inside the Sangachal terminal for planned maintenance from Aug. 2 for 20 days.

"This work was completed safely and was designed to maintain the long-term ability of the Shah Deniz plant to produce and export hydrocarbons in a safe, reliable and environmentally sound way," the company said on Monday.

Shah Deniz is estimated to contain 1.2-1.5 trillion cubic metres of gas.

Shah Deniz I has been pumping gas since 2006, while gas from its second stage is expected to reach Europe by 2019-2020.

BP said the Shah Deniz II project "is now over 50 percent complete in terms of engineering, procurement and construction, and remains on target for first gas in 2018".

Overall gas production in Azerbaijan fell to 24.5 bcm in January-October period from 25.2 bcm a year earlier due to lower output from the state energy firm SOCAR.

Azerbaijan plans to produce 40.7 million tonnes of oil and 30.2 bcm of gas in 2015.

(Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Susan Thomas)


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