BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 22 (UPI) -- The Azeri Parliament ratified on Friday an exploration and development contract for the offshore Absheron field in the Caspian Sea with French company Total.
Total takes a 60 percent stake in a joint venture with the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic from a contract signed between both parties in February.
Estimated gas reserves at Absheron are believed to be on par with the massive Shah Deniz field, which holds estimated potential recoverable resources of roughly 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Total reserves the option to sell its shares to Gaz de France Suez in the future while financing SOCAR's shares during the exploratory period at the Absheron field, the Trend news agency reports.
Total and SOCAR will drill three wells at the site within the next three years.
Azerbaijan boasts some of the largest gas fields in the world, with Baku expecting to produce as much as 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas by 2011.