Azerbaijan's much touted oil wealth is in doubt : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

More doubts over Azerbaijan energy

Azerbaijan's much touted oil wealth is in doubt

By Chloe Arnold in Baku The US oil group Chevron says it has found no gas in one of the largest offshore fields in the Caspian Sea.

A spokesman for Chevron said that work on the Absheron field in the Caspian Sea had been stopped because only a very thin layer of gas was discovered there.

The company had been expecting to find about 1,000 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

The announcement brings further gloom to oil companies in Azerbaijan that have suffered several recent disappointments.

Last week Exxon Mobil announced it was suspending drilling in another part of the Caspian off Azerbaijan after it failed to find any oil.

Exxon Mobil said it was halting all operations in the Oguz field because the well it had drilled turned out to be dry.

Territorial dispute

Azerbaijan is also embroiled in a row with neighbouring Iran over two oil exploration ships that Tehran claims were trespassing in Iranian waters.

Two Azeri ships leased by BP Amoco to carry out a marine survey in the southern Caspian were stopped on Monday by the Iranian military.

They threatened to use force unless the ships retreated from what they claimed was Iranian territory.

Iran said exploration in the area should be stopped until proper international boundaries had been drawn up in the Caspian Sea.

In 1994, a Western oil consortium signed an agreement with the Azeri government worth more than $7bn, allowing them to drill for oil and gas in the Azeri sector of the Caspian.

The region was until recently touted as the next Kuwait.

But, with some wells turning out to be dry, analysts say there's doubt as to whether Azerbaijan will be a major oil and gas provider in the future.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 26, 2001

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