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Statoil gains strength offshore Azerbaijan

April 9, 2013 at 8:13 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 9 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil announced it signed a memorandum of understanding to explore for additional reserves offshore Azerbaijan.

Statoil signed a memorandum of understanding in Baku to develop the Zafar-Mashal in the Caspian Sea alongside the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic.

"This MoU reflects our long-term commitment to Azerbaijan," Statoil Chief Executive Officer Helge Lund said in a statement. "We are pleased that the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan is working closely with us as we progress with our plans for the further development of the Caspian area."

Statoil gave no indication of the reserve potential in Zafar-Mashal. The region's Trend news service said the area may contain around 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

Statoil has worked offshore Azerbaijan for more than 20 years. It holds a 25.5 percent interest in the Shah Deniz II project in the Caspian Sea alongside BP and a 42.5 percent share in the planned Trans Adriatic Pipeline.

The BP-led consortium working offshore Azerbaijan is expected by June to choose between TAP and the planned Nabucco West natural gas pipelines. Both are included in the Southern Corridor, a series of transit networks meant to ease the Russian grip on the European energy sector.

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