BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 25 (UPI) -- An Azeri energy company said it signed an agreement with BP that was billed as part of a national effort to explore fully all of its reserves offshore.
The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic signed a memorandum of understanding with BP that envisions joint work in parts of the North Absheron basin in the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea.
"As part of the government's plan to ensure that all of Azerbaijan's offshore waters are fully explored this MOU gives BP the exclusive right to negotiate an agreement with SOCAR to explore and develop block D230," they said in a joint statement.
Azerbaijan is host to the Shah Deniz gas complex in the Caspian Sea, among the larger gas reserves in the world. A consortium led by BP is working on developing the field. SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said a long relationship with BP is strengthened by the agreement for new areas of offshore development.
"It continues the cooperation that will enable us to work together to ensure the long term future for Azerbaijan's oil and gas production through exploring new opportunities," Gordon Birrell, BP's regional president, said.
Neither offered an estimate of the reserve potential in the D230 block in North Absheron.
BP's regional subsidiary has already awarded billions of dollars in contracts to help move Azeri natural gas through pipelines headed toward the European market.
The Trans-Adriatic pipeline will start delivering gas from the Shah Deniz gas project to European consumers in 2019. TAP would connect to the Trans-Anatolian natural gas project running through Turkey to the Greek border.