SOCAR warms to Gazprom offer

June 3, 2008 at 4:54 PM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 3 (UPI) -- The State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, SOCAR, said it is considering the offer made by Russian gas giant Gazprom for Azeri gas contracts.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller made the proposal Monday with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said, however, the organization was studying several proposals from different countries in order to "choose the most profitable one," reporting by the Azerbaijan Business Center said Tuesday.

"Each of the potential buyers wants to get maximum gas volume," Abdullayev said.

The developments boost the position of SOCAR to develop Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan. The Norwegian energy company StatoilHydro operates Stage 1 of the Shah Deniz field, the largest such reserve in Azerbaijan.

Officials estimate the total reserves in the Shah Deniz field approach 22 trillion cubic feet of gas with 101 million tons of condensate. Gas production within Stage 2 beings in 2012.

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