Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Report casts doubt on Lukoil Caspian trove
14 Jan. 2008 - Scan Oil&Gas - Moscow-based Lukoil has found no oil or gas in a Caspian Sea license it once touted as potentially containing 800 million barrels of oil, Reuters reported Wednesday citing a source in Azeri state oil company Socar. Scandoil.com has reported extensively on Lukoil’s build-up in the Caspian Sea, one of the world’s richest oil and gas provinces. Lukoil, which is 20-percent owned by ConocoPhillips, is joined at the license by Socar (20 percent) and Gaz de France (15 percent). Yesterday, Lukoil said the Caspian offshore accounted for at least one of the eight fields discovered in 2008. Seven other new fields were found in Central Russia, two in southern Russia and two in Siberia. The company said its Caspian shelf project over some 1,200 square kilometres represented “an efficient opening up” in order to replace used up reserves. By October last year, the company said its 2008 investments in the Caspian region had reached $340 million. Lukoil in 2009 is flush with cash from fuel-oil sales after a successful refinery expansion. The company now promises more work with the drill bit, although the Caspian Sea is still said officially to be in for “further field development”. In May 2008, Gazprom and Lukoil heralded a major hydrocarbon field at the Tsentralnaya structure in Russia’s Caspian sector by the Kazakh border. The first exploration wildcat hit hydrocarbons, and then testing produced sweet crude in commercial flows without mechanical aids. In October, Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum estimated its oil discovery in the Caspian Lagansky block contained up to 450 million barrels of recoverable resources, “a major discovery,” company chief exec Ashley Heppenstall proclaimed.