Azeri state oil company Socar has transferred 5 per cent of its 20 per cent share in an estimated $8,000 million offshore oil development venture in the Caspian Sea to state Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), Azerbaijan’s President Aliev said on 3 April. He also said a further 5 per cent of Socar’s share would be sold to US oil major Exxon Corporation, pending negotiations (MEED 24:3:95).

Aliev said the transfer to TPAO, which has increased its share to 6.75 per cent, was not just for economic, but also for political reasons and relations within the region.

Socar has been negotiating for the sale of parts of its share with TPAO and other bidders for several months. It needs the proceeds to meet its financial obligations valued at around $600 million to the rest of the consortium holding the concession, the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC). TPAO reportedly had been forced to pledge it would better other offers.

The consortium, headed by a partnership of British Petroleum Company (BP) and Norway’s Statoil with a combined 25.5 per cent share, signed for the concession to develop the Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli fields in September. Producing around 700,000 barrels a day (b/d) within the next decade, the concession could be a major contributor to increases in Azeri output. Turkey’s new share of the concession’s presently anticipated recoverable reserves of 4,000 million barrels is equivalent to around one-and-a-half times annual imports.

The Azeri president said he also looked forward to co-operation with TPAO in developing other oil fields. In March, the Anatolia news agency announced that TPAO had secured a 10 per cent share in a concession also led by BP and Statoil to develop the Shah Deniz oil fields in Azerbaijan, which it claimed was the second largest, ongoing project in the country after the Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli project.