New Oil, Gas Exploration in Caspian Sea

New Oil, Gas Exploration in Caspian Sea
New Oil, Gas Exploration in Caspian Sea

Oil and gas exploration has commenced in a new field in the Caspian Sea near the border with Turkmenistan in Golestan Province, managing director of Khazar Exploration and Production Company announced.

After seismic studies, data evaluation and the possibility of a joint hydrocarbon formation in the field with Turkmenistan, plans were made to carry out exploratory drilling in Soofikam region, Ali Osouli was quoted by IRNA as saying. "If exploratory drilling fails to produce the desired results in terms of commercial hydrocarbon reserves, the reservoir will be considered for gas storage," he said.

KEPCO has conducted studies to revise previous data on hydrocarbon reserves in the three northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan. Seismic operations in Golestan were conducted in an area covering 1,250 kilometers.

Equipment and machinery are being procured to equip the site, and KEPCO is currently seeking a skilled workforce to begin drilling in Ghezel-Tappeh, northeast of Golestan. A total of $780 million will be allocated to construct storage facilities in the area.

The last well in Ghezel-Tappeh was drilled 45 years ago the results of which put a damper on the region's hydrocarbon potential. Similarly, there was a misconception in the past that there are no hydrocarbon reserves in the southern flanks of the Caspian Sea, which turned out to be wrong following the discovery of Sardar-e-Jangal oilfield.

In December 2011, Iran announced that it had discovered a substantial oil deposit, later called Sardar-e-Jangal field, which reportedly contains about 10 billion barrels of oil and 500 million cubic meters of recoverable natural gas. It is located 188 km north of Roudsar in Gilan Province and 250 km northwest of Neka. In May 2012, another field, the Sardar Milli, was discovered on the same structure.

Iran is conducting exploratory drilling in new areas in the Caspian Sea with the aim of finding new fields. Due to the abundance of gas resources in southern Iran, officials have been rather indifferent and averse to exploration and expansion of oil fields in the northern regions. However, the Rouhani administration, after taking office in the summer of 2013, has shown special interest in natural energy resources in the Caspian region.

The region, which includes Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,  Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran, is one of the oldest oil-producing areas in the world and is an increasingly important source of global energy production. The area has significant oil and natural gas reserves from both offshore deposits in the sea itself and onshore fields in the region.

Traditionally an oil-producing area, the Caspian area’s importance as a natural gas producer is fast growing. Offshore fields account for 41% of total Caspian crude oil and lease condensate (19.6 billion barrels) and 36% of natural gas (106 trillion cubic feet). In general, most of the offshore oil reserves are in the northern parts of the sea, while most of the offshore natural gas reserves are in the southern regions.