Malaysian state oil company Petronas [PETR.UL] that has been prospecting the Turkmen sector of the Caspian sea since 1996 plans to invest over $210 million in this area, the Turkmen government official told Reuters.
"Petronas will continue exploration works at offshore oil blocks worth US $ 210 mln and hopes to get the early oil by this autumn," he said on Thursday.
Petronas was the first foreign company to sign an oil and gas production sharing agreement (PSA) with Turkmenistan on Block-1 which includes three oil fields, Gubkina, Jdanova and Livanovo.
According to the Turkmen source, the company plans to bring in an additional drilling rig and to drill three more testing wells by the end of the year. At the same time, the company will build an infrastructure to ensure the transportation of crude.
Petronas is currently holding talks on the mechanism of realization of hydrocarbons.
Exploration works conducted in the last years proved that, apart from oil, Block-1 contains great volumes of associated gas. In this regard, Ashgabat asked Petronas to help build a gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea coast to Russia.
Apart from Petronas, four more foreign companies operate in Turkmenistan: Maersk Oil, Burren Energy, Mitro International and Dragon Oil. They are implementing two onshore and three offshore projects. Only Dragon Oil deals with oil output in the sea.
German Wintershall is going to start prospecting works on the Caspian Sea this summer. PSA are expected to be signed with Dutch Berlanga, Russian Zarubezhneft and Rosneft and Itera's subsidiary Gazhiminvest, LUKoil and other companies.
Ashgabat claims that hydrocarbon reserves of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea are estimated at 11 bln tonnes of oil and 5,5 trillion cub. m. of gas. Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran are still at odds over the final division of the Caspian resources.
REUTERS, 9 June, 2005