BP To Delay Caspean Exploration - 20 August, 2002

BG Group PLC said the development of a massive natural gas field in the Caspian Sea is being held up to late October, because of continuing uncertainty over whether the gas can be sold to Turkey.

David Woodward, head of oil major BP's operations in Azerbaijan, said approval for the start of full field development at Shah Deniz was to have been given in July but has now been pushed back to late October.

"There are still a number of issues relating to the Turkish market and the sales and purchase agreement that was signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey last year," Woodward told reporters.

"We need to resolve the issues relating to that agreement before it will be possible to sanction (full field development of Shah Deniz)," he said.

Shah Deniz, which lies in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea, contains an estimated 400 billion cubic metres, making it a world-class field and the biggest gas discovery in the Caspian to date.

The consortium comprises BP, which is also the project operator, Azeri state oil company SOCAR, Statoil ASA, TotalFinaElf, Lukoil, OIEC and TPAO.


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